Giannis hesitates to the Sixers

In just a few hours, the Bucks have managed to sign PJ Tucker and beat the Sixers in Philadelphia. Giannis, at 32 + 15 + 5, better surrounded than ever.


If the Bucks have done well this year, it is to please Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek's promises were fulfilled thanks to the biggest contract ever signed (228.2 million in five seasons), but the team has fulfilled its part by surrounding its star as it has never been. If at the beginning of the season Jrue Holiday arrived and Bogdan Bogdanovic did the cobra, the extension of the bench and the redistribution of the squad allowed Giannis to be happy and Mike Budenholzer to try new things in the face of a playoffs that have always choked him. And now, months later, General Manager John Horst has done a formidable job and seized the services of one of the coveted pieces before the market closes, which will be together in a week (March 25). PJ Tucker arrives in Milwaukee to reinforce the squad and completes, with Holiday, another extraordinary defensive signing to close gaps behind and contribute his experience (he is 35 years old) to a focused and apparently united dressing room.

Giannis has shown how happy he is with his new teammates by beating the Sixers in Philadelphia. The absence of Joel Embiid (still injured) has allowed him to penetrate at will, make good decisions in a tight finish and sentence in extra time. And going back 19 points in a game that had two faces, one in the first half and the other in the second, incredibly different. In the first two quarters, the visitors stayed at 18 and 13 points respectively. In the next two, they pressed back and improved in front to force extra time, where they sentenced with Giannis in a state of grace and hesitation included: he sat in the center of the court after Doc Rivers stopped the game with a time-out and showed a gesture left openly. The action did not like the rival players too much, and neither did the fans, who saw how minutes after the game Anteto posted a photo of the situation on Twitter. He is certainly pleased.

Giannis finished with 32 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 losses. He scored just a triple in five attempts, but his series of shots was, as always, spectacular: 13 of 22. He created spaces for his teammates, made the right decisions at clutch time, and was the usual defensive wall to contain the attacks of the Sixers, who had a bad day shooting (under 40% shooting) and survived thanks to Ben Simmons (13 + 10 + 12, but 7 losses) and a Dwight Howard who is being a great shock in the absence of Embiiid: 13 + 15, with the odd basket from the middle distance included. The Bucks shot a gruesome 23.1% on 3-pointers, but hammered the zone shamelessly; Donte DiVincenzo was the second in command and accompanied Giannis in a masterful way: 20 + 8 + 5 + 3. Holiday also caught on with a great performance (19 + 6 + 6), Pat Connaughton contributed quarterly from the bench (12 rebounds) and Khirs Middleton (who was not fine) and Brook Lopez passed ten points.

The Sixers (with 18 points from a bad Tobias Harris and 19 from a good Danny Green) are still first in the Eastern Conference, but matched by some Nets who have beaten Indiana and have an identical record to theirs (28-13). The Bucks, 26-14, quietly and not obsessing over the top spot in the East as much as they did the previous two years (they finished NBA leaders in both cases), are just 1.5 games away from that position. And they have quite a distance with the Heat (fourth, with a 22-19), which is the team that starts the string of franchises that fight for a position that everyone can get and without which anyone can stay. In that sense, Bucks and Sixers have done their homework, but the former are on the rise and in Philadelphia they will have to survive as best they can until the saved Joel Embiid returns to an orphan squad, without options and sterile without him. Of course, the goal is for him to be well in the playoffs. There will be the key. If the Nets and their enormous talent allow it, sure. And of that there are serious doubts.

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