By Antonis Stroggylakis/ email@example.com
After finishing Game 3 of the playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets with a postseason career-high eight 3-point attempts, Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo appeared confident in continuing taking these shots from afar as long as his gut tells him that this is the right call.
“You got to shoot it. You got to make the best decision,” Giannis said. He made two out of the eight 3-pointers he shot and this stat, along with his 4-9 free throws, were the only stains in an otherwise mostly strong night of 33 points and a game-high 14 rebounds vs. the Nets. He and Khris Middleton (35 points) pushed the Bucks to a 86 – 83 win that cut their series deficit to 1-2.
“If I I feel I can knock it down, I’m going to shoot it,” Giannis added. “If I feel I can get my teammates involved, I’m going to get my teammates involved. As I said, just make the best decision for that particular moment. My instinct told me that taking three at that moment was the best decision and that’s why I took eight threes.”
Forcing Giannis to take eight threes was a tactical victory for the Nets, even if it didn’t ultimately affect the final result which was against them. It’s always the obvious plan for any team, to have the now former two-time MVP staying away from the paint instead of seeing him posting up to bully his way to the rim or slashing a path the basket like knife cuts through hot butter.
The Nets took a pounding when Giannis was aggressively attacking the rim and was, to the surprise of no one, unstoppable when he finished plays after galloping in transition. They naturally felt much less threatened when their no. 1 opponent was kept at a distance.
Eight 3-pointers is a lot for Giannis and while his team still won it may not be an exactly sustainable thing for the rest of the series. The Greek Freak didn’t regret taking so many shots from beyond the arc since that was what he felt he should’ve done in each specific play.
“Basketball is all about instincts. If my instincts tell me that this is the right decision to take, I’ll live with that,” Giannis said.
“It doesn’t matter what happens next,” he also mentioned. “Because you live with the decision you make. I always try to make the right decision at the right moment. Today it was shooting eight threes. In the next game maybe it’ll be shooting zero threes. Who knows. I’m just going to try keep making the right decision.”
Overall, Giannis took 31 shots, which is more than double the attempts he registered in Game 2 (15). But there wasn’t any specific mindset into this, just letting the game come to him and, once again, trusting in what his instinct was telling him.
“I wasn’t thinking about being aggressive. I was just thinking about being in the moment,” Giannis said. “I knew that my instinct is going to take over. I’m going to try to make the right play. I didn’t start the game thinking ‘I got to be aggressive’ or ‘I go to shoot 30 shots’. I was just trying to be in the moment, try to make the right play.”
The Bucks entered the match determined to set the tone early and bounce back from a 0-2 hole they were after the two matches at Brooklyn. They finished the first quarter scoring 31 points and were up 21 a bit before the end of the period.
Brooklyn caught up by keeping the Bucks to 15 points in the second quarter and the match became mostly an old-school defensive battle. The final result marked a season-low scoring output for the Nets and a season-low-tying tally for Milwaukee.
And that was all she wrote was for Giannis. Final score, stats, numbers, none of them made a difference to the four-time All-Star since he went to rest knowing that his team got their first win in the series.
It was all he cared about.
“A win is a win,” Giannis said. “And I said it in the last game, lose by 40 lose by one it’s still the same thing. It’s still a loss. We didn’t a score a lot today. At the end of the day we got to win and that’s how the game shaped up. We knew that it would be a very tough game and we knew we needed to get the game as much as possible. Hopefully we’ll also get the next one.”