Team USA Stifles Giannis Antetokounmpo, Beats Greece

by September 07, 2019
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Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 13 rebounds, as Team USA defeated Greece 69-53 Saturday in a FIBA World Cup second-round matchup.

Gregg Popovich‘s game plan for slowing down The Greek Freak worked to perfection, as the rest of his squad shot just 25 percent from the field.

Things also grew testy in the game’s dying moments after Antetokounmpo’s brother Thanasis took Harrison Barnes down with an unnecessarily hard foul.

Per The Athletic:

Giannis Antetokounmpo sat the whole fourth quarter. His brother nearly killed Harrison Barnes on a dirty play after the outcome was no longer in doubt.

“Yeah, I said something to Giannis. Well, Giannis said something to me, really,” [Jaylen] Brown said.

“We took exception to that hard foul,” [Marcus] Smart said. “The game was pretty much over, and you had no way of blocking the shot. At that moment, you’ve got to prepare for injuries, and you don’t want nobody to be injured. We just let them know it’s a learning moment for him (Thanasis) at that time. Because if the tables were turned and somebody did that to (Giannis), we’d probably be having a whole different discussion right now.”

Even with Barnes on him to start, Antetokounmpo came out hungry. He bullied his way in for a layup, canned a 3 and then dunked hard over Milwaukee teammate Khris Middleton for his first three baskets. But he grew tired as the game wore on — and probably tired of watching Greece miss shot after shot. Pop used Barnes and Smart and Brown to guard him.

“Over the course of the game, he dwindled a little bit,” Brown said.

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