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#pounditSunday, January 23, 2022

Articles tagged: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo addresses free throw controversy

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo addressed the free throw controversy surrounding him following his Milwaukee Bucks’ 125-91 Game 2 win over the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference finals on Friday night.

Antetokounmpo often takes several seconds in his free throw routine before attempting his shots at the line. He has been called for a violation twice this postseason for taking longer than 10 seconds. But the officials have let him slide pretty much every other time. The NBA even acknowledged the situation, saying in their last 2-minute report from Game 1 that Antetokounmpo should have been called for the violation twice.

Plenty of attention has been called to the matter. The Hawks have been upset that the officials are ignoring the situation.

So did Antetokounmpo make any adjustments for Game 2 knowing his situation was in the spotlight? He says no.

The Bucks won by such a large margin in Game 2 that the free throw subject barely came up. Antetokounmpo only went to the line four times. His Bucks only attempted 16 free throws in the game.

Giannis said he didn’t pay any specific attention to going quicker Friday, but it’s hard to believe the matter isn’t in his head more now that people have talked about it so frequently. Fans have even taunted him about it.

Nate McMillan pressures officials to call Giannis Antetokounmpo FT violations

Nate McMillan

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s free throw routine has come under the microscope during the postseason, with the Atlanta Hawks trying very hard to take advantage of it.

Hawks coach Nate McMillan was making his message clear before Friday’s Game 2, putting some external pressure on referees to be strict about calling ten-second violations against the Milwaukee Bucks star.

Ten-second violations at the free throw line typically aren’t enforced that strictly, but the frequency with which Antetokounmpo blows past the limit has led to some griping. It’s been called on him before, and the Hawks made clear that they want it called again.

It seems like some opponents are fed up with Giannis’ lengthy free throw routine, too. The Bucks star has refused to make any significant adjustments, but he would probably have to if the rule was enforced strictly like the Hawks want.

Hawks unhappy with NBA for not calling Giannis Antetokounmpo for FT violations

Giannis Antetokounmpo

It took all of one game for the Atlanta Hawks to get fed up with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s free throw routine.

The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported on Friday that the Hawks are unhappy with the NBA for continuing to look the other way whenever the Milwaukee Bucks star shoots free throws. Amick adds that Antetokounmpo’s eight free throw attempts during Atlanta’s Game 1 victory Wednesday all clocked in between 11.5 and 13.3 seconds by the Hawks’ internal count. The two-time MVP was not whistled for a ten-second violation on a single one.

The last two-minute report for the game confirmed that Antetokounmpo should have been called for violations on both his free throw attempts with 5.3 seconds remaining in the contest. He hit both shots to bring Milwaukee to within one point. Fortunately for Atlanta, they held on to win by three.

Antetokounmpo’s lengthy routine has sparked controversy all postseason. He is only shooting 55.4 percent from the line overall. But Antetokounmpo definitely annoyed his previous opponent with the spectacle as well.

Video: Nets fans troll Giannis Antetokounmpo at free throw line

Giannis Antetokounmpo free throw

Having fans back at sports events is a whole other game. Brooklyn Nets fans proved that on Saturday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been especially slow at the free throw line during the Milwaukee Bucks’ Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Nets. It’s so bad that even James Harden has been fed up with it.

During Game 7 of the series, Nets fans trolled Antetokounmpo by counting each time he was at the line. They may have even played a role in Giannis airballing an attempt late in the second quarter.

There are some big reasons why players can make most of their free throws in practice and then struggle during games. Not only is there enormous pressure, but you also have the fans to contend with. Nets fans seemed to be making a difference in this situation.

Video: James Harden is so sick of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s free throw routine

Giannis Antetokounmpo James Harden free throw

James Harden has had absolutely enough with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s free throw routine.

Antetokounmpo has a lengthy routine before attempting free throws. He likes to stare at the basket, take a few deep breaths, and practice his stroke before getting the ball to attempt a shot.

During Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals series on Thursday between the Nets and Bucks in Milwaukee, Harden could not keep his frustration to himself.

Midway through the first quarter, Harden seemed frustrated.

Then later in the first quarter, Harden threw his hands up because he had had enough.

Even some fans were counting aloud over how long Giannis was taking. Players are only supposed to have 10 seconds to attempt a free throw.

Antetokounmpo is pretty widely liked among fans, but the free throw stuff might just force some to turn on him.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has ultimate compliment for Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s team did not fare well on Tuesday night, but at least the former NBA MVP was able to appreciate some greatness he witnessed.

Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Brooklyn Nets 114-108 in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series. Kevin Durant scored 49 points with 17 rebounds and 10 assists and carried his Nets to victory. One particular shot by Durant blew fans away.

After the game, Antetokounmpo paid Durant the ultimate compliment, calling him the best player in the world.

It must be difficult to admit that, but Giannis did. How many other superstars would say it about an opponent?

Antetokounmpo is going to have to step up his game in order for his Bucks to come back and win the series. They trail 3-2. Maybe that is why Giannis is ready to take on a new challenge in Game 6 on Thursday.

CJ McCollum criticizes Giannis Antetokounmpo for not guarding Kevin Durant

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Kevin Durant dominated the Milwaukee Bucks for 49 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists in a 114-108 win in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series on Tuesday night. Late in the game as he kept racking up big buckets, some wondered a reasonable question: why wasn’t Giannis Antetokounmpo guarding KD?

Antetokounmpo was the Defensive Player of the Year last season and is a four-time All-Defensive team player. Shouldn’t he be defending the opposing team’s best player in key moments like at the end of the game?

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum pointed that out on Twitter. “Easy$” is a reference to Durant, whose Instagram handle is “EasyMoneySniper.”

It took Durant going for 49 for the Nets to win. And it took the Bucks being unable to convert offensively for Milwaukee to lose. So Giannis not being on Durant wasn’t the reason the Bucks lost. But, yes, that’s probably a challenge Antetokounmpo should be accepting at times. He sounds like he will want it in Game 6:

That’s nice, but does any of it even matter if Durant is doing this?

Giannis Antetokounmpo almost teamed up with Luka Doncic in Dallas?

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Dallas Mavericks apparently came close to getting the infinity gauntlet.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported this week that rival executives were fearful that Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo would team up with Luka Doncic in Dallas. But Antetokounmpo ended up signing a supermax extension with Milwaukee, effectively putting those fears to rest.

Antetokounmpo and Doncic are arguably the two top NBA stars of their generation. Not much is known about their relationship with each other. But the Mavs did previously have Antetokounmpo’s younger brother Kostas on their team in what many saw as a play for Giannis.

The two-time MVP Antetokounmpo is now committed to the Bucks through 2025 per his new supermax contract. As for Doncic, he is currently set to become a restricted free agent next offseason. But Doncic is eligible for a big extension this offseason. In the meantime, Doncic may be looking for another co-star.

NBA tells Nets to stop with Giannis Antetokounmpo free throw tactic

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo is straight up not having a good time at the free-throw line against the Brooklyn Nets. But now the league could be making things a little bit easier for him going forward.

Anthony Puccio of Front Office Sports reported on Tuesday that the NBA has asked the Nets to stop with a certain tactic when the Milwaukee Bucks star is shooting his free throws. The team has been putting up a stopwatch on the Jumbotron to call out any ten-second violations on Antetokounmpo’s part. Puccio says the league has asked Brooklyn to take down the stopwatch.

The reigning back-to-back MVP Antetokounmpo has really struggled from the line through the first two games of the series. He has gone an abysmal 2-for-10. A career 71.7 percent foul shooter, Antetokounmpo was famously whistled for a ten-second violation in a key playoff moment last month.

Of course, free throws are only one aspect of the game. Unfortunately for the Bucks, they are also getting throttled by the Nets in every other area, having lost the first two games of the series by a combined 47 points. The next two games will be played in Milwaukee. If the Bucks don’t get their act together, Antetokounmpo will not even get a chance to take advantage of a stopwatch-less Brooklyn arena.

Kevin Durant unloads on ESPN’s Jay Williams over Giannis story

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant has once again heard something about himself in the media that he did not appreciate, and you knew the Brooklyn Nets star was not going to ignore it.

ESPN’s Jay Williams recalled on “Get Up!” Tuesday morning the time he once compared Durant to Giannis Antetokounmpo by saying Giannis is like a combination of Durant and Anthony Davis. Williams said Durant caught wind of the analysis and reamed him out over it at a holiday party.

Durant claims that never happened. The 11-time All-Star blasted Williams on social media and said Williams fabricated the story.

“Mans will do anything to advance their careers in this media s—, wanting to be accepted by an industry that will dispose of you whenever they please,” Durant wrote on Twitter (edited by LBS for profanity). “Keep me out all that corny a– talk about whos better and legacy and all that dumb a– s—. I don’t even talk like that.”

Durant also responded to the clip on Instagram.

“This is a f—in lie. Jay Williams can NEVER speak for me, ever…” Durant wrote, via Hoop Central.

It seems unlikely that Williams would make up a story like that, so perhaps Durant never wanted it to get out. Williams used the supposed interaction with Durant to illustrate why he believes K.D. will have extra motivation in Brooklyn’s playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

For better or worse, Durant is more active on social media than most athletes. We were reminded of that recently when he appeared to threaten a former NBA player who called out Kyrie Irving. The fact that he went after Williams is hardly a surprise.