NBA

Giannis praises Bucks for putting aside championship ring excitement prior to season-opening win over Nets

By Sports Desk October 19, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo hailed the Milwaukee Bucks for putting aside the excitement of receiving their NBA championship rings prior to Tuesday's dominant 127-104 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

The Bucks reminded the star-studded Nets who runs the Eastern Conference in their emphatic season-opening victory at Fiserv Forum, where Antetokounmpo led the defending champions with 32 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks.

Antetokounmpo and his Bucks team-mates received their championship rings in a glittering pre-game ceremony in front of a sell-out crowd in Milwaukee before blowing out Kevin Durant and the Nets in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference semi-final.

"It was hard. Obviously very excited for the ring and seeing our banner," Antetokounmpo told ESPN after his double-double display.

"It's been hard to balance that, going from that excitement and that emotional state, going to get ready to play the game.

"I think we did a great job. When the ceremony was over, we were able to focus on our gameplan and ourselves. We were able to get the win."

The Bucks raced to a 37-25 first-quarter lead and led by as much as 23 points as they were never headed by a Nets side missing Kyrie Irving due to his absence related to not being vaccinated against coronavirus.

Milwaukee had issues of their own, with Donte DiVincenzo and Bobby Portis unavailable, while Jrue Holiday only played 18 minutes after succumbing to a right heel contusion.

Antetokounmpo had good support from Khris Middleton who finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and three assists, as well as Pat Connaughton (20 points)

Young small forward Jordan Nwora also contributed 15 points and six rebounds from 26 minutes off the bench.

"We've got a deep team," added Antetokounmpo, who had averaged at least 25.0 points and 10.0 rebounds over the past four seasons heading into the opener – the first player to accomplish the feat since Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal (1993-94 to 2002-03).

"Everybody is ready to step up, everybody is ready to play. We play hard and we play together. We try to play good basketball which is what we did tonight."

The 26-year-old Greek power forward also said it was a "compliment" to be named pre-game in the top-75 greatest players in NBA history to mark the competition's 75th anniversary.

Related items

  • Cy Young winner Ray ready to bring World Series to Mariners Cy Young winner Ray ready to bring World Series to Mariners

    Seattle Mariners recruit Robbie Ray said he is ready to bring a World Series to the franchise following his unveiling on Wednesday.

    After capping a career year with the American League (AL) Cy Young Award, Ray opted to leave the Toronto Blue Jays for the Mariners in free agency.

    Ray signed a five-year, $115million contract in Seattle, where the 2017 All-Star will headline their rotation after his breakout year in Toronto.

    "This team, the city is hungry for a World Series," Ray said during his introductory news conference midweek – the Mariners have never won the World Series or an AL pennant.

    "To be a part of it and bring it back right here, I just wanted to be here."

    Ray enjoyed a stellar campaign for the Blue Jays, who narrowly missed out on the MLB playoffs despite a 91-win season.

    The 30-year-old boasted a 2.84 ERA – the best among qualifiers in the AL, having come off a 6.62 ERA last year.

    Ray – acquired by the Blue Jays in 2020 – led the AL in ERA-plus (154) and WHIP (1.045), while striking out an MLB-best 248 batters in 32 starts.

    "It just seemed like a really good fit and we were ready to move forward," Ray said of joining the Mariners. "I mean, it happened really quickly, but we're glad that it did."

    "I've always had the mindset of going out and attacking. But it didn't necessarily match up with the delivery," Ray said. "This year, I feel like I really nailed that down and I feel really good about the consistency of the delivery. That consistency, matched with that mindset, I feel like is what allowed me to succeed this year."

    Seattle's president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto added: "I think that's one of the main attractions for us is we want to be the team where, when other teams are coming to Seattle to play us, they look at the three pitchers or the four pitchers that are lined up for that series and they say, 'Oh man'".

  • Mourinho suggests Roma's Zaniolo leaves Serie A Mourinho suggests Roma's Zaniolo leaves Serie A

    Roma head coach Jose Mourinho suggested for Nicolo Zaniolo to start thinking about a move away from Serie A as he vented his frustration with refereeing in Italy's top flight.

    Mourinho watched on as fifth-placed Roma suffered a 1-0 defeat at Bologna in Serie A action on Wednesday.

    Roma boss Mourinho was agitated post-match after star forward Tammy Abraham and full-back Rick Karsdorp were both ruled out of Saturday's clash against reigning champions Inter due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

    Zaniolo – who is yet to score in Serie A this term, though he has managed two goals in the Europa Conference League – was also booked for diving

    "I'll have to invent the line-up on Saturday," Mourinho told DAZN following the fixture as he turned his attention to 22-year-old Italian forward Zaniolo, who sat out the entire 2020-21 campaign due to another anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

    "Luckily, I replaced [Gianluca] Mancini. Otherwise, he may have been booked too.

    "I will finish with one observation. I want to say something that probably goes against my interests: if I were Nicolo Zaniolo, I would start thinking that perhaps playing in Serie A means things will be stacked against me."

    This was former Inter coach Mourinho's first defeat against Emilian teams in Serie A – the Portuguese before Wednesday's match had a record of four wins in as many games against Bologna.

    Roma have gained 25 points in their first 15 league matches. In the last 10 Serie A seasons, including the current campaign, only in 2018-19 have they claimed fewer points after 15 matches (21).

    "Credit to Sinisa [Mihajlovic] and Bologna, they played a great game. But credit to my players too. They gave it their all against everything and everyone," said Mourinho.

    "Injuries before the game, injuries during the game, 'hidden' injuries to players who played the full 90 minutes. Then there were a few incidents but my players kept fighting.

    "I am proud of these guys, I don't have negative feelings towards them."

  • Giannis' monster double-double and late layup lifts streaking Bucks, Doncic follows in Magic's footsteps Giannis' monster double-double and late layup lifts streaking Bucks, Doncic follows in Magic's footsteps

    Defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks outlasted the Charlotte Hornets 127-125 thanks to superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo in the NBA on Wednesday.

    Antetokounmpo's monster double-double and late driving layup with 2.0 seconds remaining lifted the in-form Bucks (14-8) to their eighth consecutive victory midweek.

    Milwaukee's Antetokounmpo had 40 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in a near triple-double performance at home to the Hornets.

    The Bucks withstood LaMelo Ball, who posted 36 points, nine assists and five rebounds on the road for the Hornets (13-11).

     

    Doncic flexes his muscles

    Luka Doncic fuelled the Dallas Mavericks' 139-107 victory at the New Orleans Pelicans. He put up 28 points and 14 assists in just 27 minutes. According to Stats Perform, Doncic is the first player to reach those numbers while playing 27 minutes or less since Hall of Famer Magic Johnson in 1987.

    Jae'Sean Tate's career-high 32 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks helped the Houston Rockets rally past the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-110. The Rockets are the first team in NBA history with four straight wins immediately after a 15-game losing streak, per Stats Perform. As for Tate, he joined Hakeem Olajuwon as the only Rockets players to record 30-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, five-plus assists and five-plus blocks in a game.

     

    Embiid struggles as Philly's offensive woes continue

    In the absence of wantaway All-Star Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers continue to endure a topsy-turvy campaign following their 88-87 defeat to the Boston Celtics. MVP runner-up Joel Embiid had a double-double of 13 points and 18 rebounds, but he was just three-of-17 shooting. Tobias Harris was four-of-11 shooting – missing all four of his three-point attempts – for only eight points.

    Duncan Robinson had a game to forget as the shorthanded Miami Heat went down 111-85 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Robinson went scoreless in 20 minutes on 0-of-seven shooting from the floor, having failed to make any of his six efforts from beyond the arc.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.