Giannis Antetokounmpo put up another absurd Greek Freak line Saturday night in a Bucks road victory over the Wizards: 34 points on 17 shots, 12 rebounds, seven assists, a couple steals, and a block. That’s the third time this season he’s put up at least 34 points on better than 70 percent shooting, and his physical dominance yanked every drop of home-crowd energy from the audience in Washington:
Possibly the best part of this highlight package is the declining enthusiasm of long-suffering Wizards television play-by-play man Steve Buckhantz. There was a spark of admiration in his voice when he described Antetokounmpo’s athletic gifts after a ferocious and-one bucket over Markieff Morris in the first quarter. By the fourth quarter, when Giannis was making post turnarounds and clinching elbow jumpers, poor Buckhantz could barely summon the will to form words. Fadeaway ... eh. Bledsoe ... gets it to Giannis ... pulls up on Kelly Oubre and hits. Giannis spent the early stages of the game brutalizing Wizards defenders on drives; the shift to perimeter dominance was more than Buckhantz could handle.
But don’t let one man’s gloom distract from the absolute marvel of a player with Giannis’s physical gifts using fading jumpers and pull-up midrangers to bury a playoff-caliber opponent. Every year of his career so far everyone has said “if Giannis adds a jump shot, watch out,” and every year he comes a little closer to having that jump shot. He’s still not a major threat from deep, but if he can reliably take the available space to bang home 18-footers, his opponents are truly screwed.
The Bucks recently recalled Jabari Parker from the team’s developmental league affiliate, a sign that his return might be coming fairly soon. If they can get him integrated and up to speed by playoff time, the Bucks are going to be a terrifying handful down the stretch of this season.