Giannis Antetokounmpo: East ‘Definitely Open’ Without LeBron James

LeBron James‘s departure to Los Angeles last summer “definitely” opened up the Eastern Conference, according to Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Greek Freak admits he was slow to realize the Bucks’ increased odds to reach the NBA Finals without having to go through James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Milwaukee holds a 1-0 series lead over the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals,but Antetokounmpo knows they still have a long way to go.


“I didn’t see it as open,” Antetokounmpo said Thursday. “But now that I look back and see how everything went, it’s definitely open, not having LeBron in the East and not trying to go through him.”

As the Bucks navigated the first round against the Detroit Pistons, second round against the Boston Celtics and now the conference finals against the Raptors, James wasn’t top of mind.

“But any time you don’t have to go through LeBron James is going to help your odds,” Bucks guard Pat Connaughton said.

Antetokounmpo said that after watching the tape, he didn’t think any one individual was outstanding in Game 1, but as a collective, “we had a great game.”

“We’re happy,” Antetokounmpo said. “But at the end of the day, our job is not done. We gotta protect our home; we gotta be able to get Game 2.”

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