Stats Prove Bucks Need Giannis Antetokounmpo to Guard Kevin Durant in Game 7 Against Nets

Published 06/18/2021, 8:15 AM EDT
Jun 7, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) tries to block a shot taken by Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) in the first quarter during game two in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports


The Milwaukee Bucks successfully prevented a second round exit last night. Down 3-2, the Bucks showed some much-needed emergency to beat the Nets and stay alive. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton came up big and rescued the Bucks as Kevin Durant continued his good form.

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In six games of this series, Durant is averaging 33 points at 50% shooting. He has been a constant threat for the Bucks, but they are yet to put their best defender on him. P. J. Tucker and Khris Middleton have been the primary defenders, guarding Durant.

Fans have been very surprised that Giannis is not guarding him or taking the initiative to do so. Many believe that is the main reason for the Bucks being so poor on defense. When asked, Giannis said he would like to take up the challenge however, only if the coach wants him to. If coach Mike Budenholzer hasn’t already assigned Giannis to KD for next game, these stats should prove that it is high time he does.

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Analyst Kirk Goldsberry shared a stat where defenders guarding KD since 2013-14 were ranked according to the field goal % they held him to. And the Greek Freak ranks #1 on that graph. Giannis holds Durant to less than 40% from the field when he guards him. If this, plus the fact that Giannis was DPOY last time isn’t enough for Coach Bud to assign Giannis to KD, then a defeat could be on the cards for the Bucks.

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The Nets had a slow start to the game, and the Bucks capitalized on that to win the game. But it wasn’t a pretty win as the Bucks were not efficient with their shooting. The Bucks shot a poor 21% from the three-point line and just managed to shoot 45% from the field.

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Middleton scored 38 points and shot 11-18 from the field. He was a huge factor on both ends, ending the game with 10 rebounds, five assists and also a whopping five steals. Giannis had 30 points and 17 rebounds and was a dominant force. He played to his strengths and chose to attack the basket instead of forcing shots from outside. That worked excellently as he shot 60% from the field.

The Bucks need to improve on offense as a team and also keep a check on the Nets’ offense. Giannis needs to be more active and step up to lead the team to a win.

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Jun 17, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) kicks it back out against Brooklyn Nets forward Jeff Green (8) and guard James Harden (13) in the third quarter during game six in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

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Aaron Mathew

1664 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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