Team USA Stifles Giannis Antetokounmpo, Beats Greece

Ross Houston
September 10, 2019

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jaylen Brown had to be separated following Team USA's 69-53 win over Greece in the World Cup. Especially Boston Celtics Smart and Brown, who'd been dominated by Antetokounmpo while wearing a Milwaukee Bucks jersey in the playoffs in May. And then, after Team USA finished off its suffocating of Giannis and the Greeks, words were exchanged between sides, the NBA MVP among those jawing with his American colleagues. Mitchell, who could still work on his efficiency as he shot 2-for-8 from beyond the arc, was a team-high plus-21 in the box score. Jaylen Brown and Giannis got into it before Giannis' Milwaukee teammate and U.S. guard Khris Middleton removed him from the situation.

The big win over Rui Hachimura and Japan should fuel the US with confidence as national team coach Gregg Popovich and assistant coach Steve Kerr ready the team for Round 2 against a familiar NBA foe: Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and his Greek national team. "That's where we really feel like and believe we're going to win this tournament, on the defensive end, but we know we have to play better offensively and shoot better".

Nike Zoom Freak 1'Greece
The Nike Zoom Freak 1 “Greece.” CREDIT Nike

Milwaukee Bucks: 2019 FIBA World Cup Gameday 5 previews: Adam McGee previewed Monday's slate of Bucks-related World Cup games as Greece will take on the Czech Republic and Team USA will play Brazil. The USA still has a game against Brazil in the second round of group play on Monday. "But here every team has a different take on the way they want to play".

"The situation with Giannis, it's a little bit complicated. you have to protect Giannis and his health".

Marcus Smart was critical also as he played fantastic ball-denial defense on Antetokounmpo. "So now is the time for him to increase playing time and increase everything during the game".

Per ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Greek head coach Thanasis Skourtopoulo and Giannis Antetokounmop mutually agreed that he sit the final minutes of Saturday's game in order to be best prepared for the task at hand Monday. "The game was pretty much over, and he had no way of blocking the shot", Smart said after the game. They join Serbia, Spain, Poland and Argentina, who have already reached the final eight.

Antetokounmpo is still the team's leading scorer at 15.5 points per game along with 8.8 rebounds and 54.1 percent shooting, but that has to come short of expectations for easily the tournament's best player.

Instead, they get the a game that's sure to command major attention.

"We go as far as Giannis goes". "We'll be ready to go, we're not afraid of anybody". Jaylen Brown had words with Giannis. "I'm looking forward to it".

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