All it took was one minute. The very first minute. Actually, it was the first possession for the Bucks, and just like that, Giannis drove to the hoop (no doubt taking advantage of the late Draymond Green scratch) and drew a foul. He promptly hit the two free throws. 2-0 Bucks. 2-0 Giannis. A nice, aggressive start. No doubt, the proper way to approach a game like this.
Going into the game against the Warriors, more than just the cities of Milwaukee and Golden State were watching. The entire NBA nation was watching, as this was a game being televised on TNT. Three minutes into the nationally televised game (for those dwindling cable subscribers anyway), Giannis would pick up an early foul and then in turn, be fouled once more. Halfway through the first, after an easy looking layup, it was Giannis 6, Warriors 15. After a barrage of threes and a poorly mismanaged final possession (Giannis nearly fired the ball over John Henson’s head), the first quarter was over. Bucks 32 – Warriors 29.
Antetokounmpo would explode in the second quarter, “and drop the hammer,” as Kevin Harlan boasted, immediately after a streaming dunk. A short while later, he played his man perfectly by backing him down and hitting a cutting-open-under-the-basket, Pat Connaughton. After a short rest, Giannis would again have all eyes on him as he attempted his patented two step dunk (FROM HALF COURT). He would miss the dunk, but was able to corral the easy rebound and put the ball into its home. About a minute before the half, Giannis would swat a driving Kevin Durant shot to the moon. The Greek Freak came to play, and by halftime, his arsenal was on full display, with a 19/7/3 slash line, to go along with a steal and a block, to boot. Bucks 64 – Warriors 51 at the break.
Giannis picked up where he left off in the first half, by scoring an even quicker 5 points, grabbing 2 boards and adding another assist within minutes. One more “freaky” highlight almost happened right after the midpoint in the 3rd quarter; when Giannis used his length to start a steal, 2 on 1 fastbreak and alley oop from Eric Bledsoe… but he missed the dunk. Bledsoe would get the putback though. Points are still points.
A third quarter in which Giannis was able to rest a little, the Bucks started to pull away. The final couple minutes of the third quarter felt like the final minutes of the game. Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA was as quiet as the night sky back home in Milwaukee, WI. The loudest the crowd became during the third, was when Giannis lowered his left shoulder and bucked right into a Warriors defender for his 5th foul. Bucks 103 – Warriors 78.
The fourth quarter was without Giannis, until… no, wait, he never saw the floor in the final quarter. It was more or less just playing out the string for both teams, as the closest the Warriors got was just under a 20 point deficit. A dominating win by the Bucks on cable TV showed the NBA audience that not only are the Bucks for real, but that Giannis Antetokounmpo is the early season MVP favorite. His final stat line came in at 24 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks, which also included an impressive 9 of 10 from the charity stripe. Imagine the damage he could have done if the game was close. Bucks 134 – Warriors 111.
FEAR THE DEER, INDEED.