Giannis Antetokounmpo is not clutch, he will never be clutch, and he will always do this to us. Meaning he will dominate when the lights are too bright, but once the lights are all on him he chokes. Time and time again Giannis has shown he can’t play when it matters most, but we let it slide and shower him with praise and awards. In the fourth quarter, Giannis was worse than bad, he was terrible. In crucial moments he was taking fade-away jump shots when he had the smaller defender on him, I mean who the hell does that?! The crowd got to Giannis, and the moment keeps getting to him as well. If I were Khris Middleton I would be screaming at him in the locker room as we speak, here’s what I would say if I were Khris Middleton. “What the f*ck are you doing?! We agreed that when the game is in crunch time I bail you out, and you get all the glory. Why were you taking fade-away jump shots on James Harden? Why?!”
Giannis is pathetic when it comes to clutch moments, he’s worse than rookie LeBron. Let’s face it, LeBron has failed in the playoffs before, 2008 Conference Semifinals vs. the Celtics, 2009 Conference Finals vs. the Magic, 2010 Conference Semifinals vs. the Celtics, and the 2015 Finals vs. the Warriors. But at least LeBron was carrying a team of bums around during his first stint in Cleveland, Giannis has Middleton, Holiday, Lopez, Tucker, and Connaughton. The fact that Giannis has blown previous series like the series vs. the Raptors, and was embarrassed by the Heat in 2020 shows he isn’t ready for the responsibility of carrying a team. Hear me out on this, Giannis sucks in any sort of clutch situation, playoffs, or regular season. Khris Middleton always gets stuck with the role of savior when Giannis decides to pull up from 25 feet. And then what ends up happening is, Middleton gets 0 credit, while Giannis is hailed as the MVP. Middleton should be the number one guy when the game is close with less than 5 minutes to play because Giannis can’t be the guy, and if he can’t be the guy, then he’s nobody. He’s just your average star, take away the nickname Greek Freak, and change it to the Greek Failure. Because Giannis is a failure, I like him, but he isn’t a superstar if he can’t play when the going gets rough. He’s had so many opportunities to change opinions of him, but every time he comes up short. Also, he takes 30 seconds to shoot a free throw! Start calling the 10-second violation, and he will stop!
Going away from Giannis for a moment, how about Kevin Durant? Holy cow was that a great performance or what? I haven’t seen a player locked in like that in a long time, I mean he played the entire game! He’s coming off a potential career-altering injury, and he casually drops 49/17/10. Just like it’s an average day at the office. Every Net fan including Steve Nash should be kissing Durant’s feet right now because he is their God. Kevin Durant is their savior, he is the man that will lead them to the promised land. All Hail Durant! All Hail Durant! All Hail Durant! I expect that to be chanted on Thursday, if not I will be disappointed.
KD refused to quit that entire game, he played all 48 minutes and did all the work offensively. Minus the three minutes, Jeff Green had in the third quarter. James Harden was only on the court because Steve Nash was smart enough to realize they would lose if he couldn’t play the role of annoying decoy. And I say annoying because James Harden annoys me. Harden earned some of my respect because it’s obvious he’s not 100%, I’d be surprised if he was 60%, nevertheless, he played 46 minutes only taking a break to end the first quarter. That’s impressive, sure he only had 5 points, but like I said before he was only there to play the role of decoy. Smart move by Nash.
I knew the game was over when Giannis was settling for silly jump shots, and KD was making three’s left and right. He put the dagger in the dying Bucks when he made a ridiculous contested deep three with less than a minute to play, and he let out a howl. Because last night, KD was a lone wolf out there,
The Bucks still have a shot however, Kyrie is out for the rest of the series, maybe even the entire playoffs. The Bucks only have a shot because KD can’t do what he did last night again, can he? This will be it for Giannis, will he rise up to the moment, or will he shy away and turn to Middleton when the game is already lost. Will Giannis be looked at as a great regular season player, or as a great player including in the playoffs. Here’s what the Bucks have to do to win the series, or at the very least push the series to seven games:
Stop running the offense through Jrue Holiday
Jrue Holiday is a great defensive player, but Budenholzer has to stop running the offense through him. For whatever reason Budenholzer ran the offense through Holiday for most of the fourth quarter, and the decision was not very wise, in fact, it was idiotic. Holiday is good for 17-19 points a game, but should not be seen as a number 2 scoring option, nor should he be running the point guard position at any time. I would rather P.J. Tucker run the offense than Jrue Holiday because Tucker won’t take a silly side-step three-pointer over Kevin Durant. Holiday is a defender first, passer second, scorer third, or at least that’s how Budenholzer should tell him to play. A major reason the Bucks lost was Holiday was running around the court late in the fourth quarter looking to take a step back three pointer, I hate to break it to you Holiday but you can’t make a three pointer from 30 feet out.
Budenholzer has to stop being an idiot
Mike Budenholzer might be the worst head coach in the playoffs of all time, barely beating Doc Rivers for that award. Budenholzer’s armpits clam up more than Giannis in a clutch situation. His solution when down by a couple of points late in the fourth quarter always seems to be, do something. It never looks like he’s running a play, or has a system intact. It just looks like Holiday runs around passes the ball to Giannis, and then Giannis takes a fade-away jumper. Then when it’s already too late he tells everybody to give the ball to Middleton to see if he can bail them out. Does Budenholzer know Giannis sucks in the clutch? Does he know Middleton is pretty damn good in the clutch? I don’t think he does, because he never lets Middleton be Middleton. Whenever Khris gets home from the field in the fourth, he calls a timeout and ruins the momentum. Rule number 1 Budenholzer: Never mess with a hot hand!
Hope Middleton stays hot
If Khris Middleton doesn’t have 30 or more points on Thursday, the Bucks are doomed. Not only doomed to lose but they will also be doomed to lose by 40 points. Middleton has to be the point guard Thursday night, if the offense isn’t running through him, they will lose. If Giannis is good Thursday Middleton has to be great, if Giannis sucks (likely) Middleton has to be amazing. Middleton needs to shoot the ball more than 30 times during game 6 for the Bucks to survive because Middleton is a good enough player that if he shoots the ball enough he will get hot. Giannis has to realize that if he plays point guard they will lose, he has to realize that when it matters most he is number 2, and Middleton is the guy. Not Giannis, Middleton.
Hope Kevin Durant dies
I know this sounds dark, but this is the Bucks’ best shot for them to win game 6 and game 7. Durant probably won’t have another 49/17/10, but he will rise to the occasion. The Bucks don’t have to worry about Harden, he can’t do anything but pass and shoot bad step-back threes. KD should be their primary focus which sounds obvious, but I don’t think Budenholzer has realized that yet. If Kevin Durant scores over 25 points in either game 6 or game 7, then it’s over, Bucks go home. KD is the greatest scorer of all time, so even if Middleton has an iconic game, all KD has to do is hit shots when it matters most. If he hits rally-killing threes like he’s done his entire career, the Nets will advance.
The Bucks are screwed, they had a chance to win the series tonight, but Giannis and Budenholzer are a recipe for disaster. If I were a Bucks fan I would be re-thinking that Giannis contract, and pray to God Budenholzer finally gets the boot for his less than stellar performances in the playoffs. Nets have been tested and proved that they can fight when the going gets tough. Bucks Bucks Bucks, what could have been. If only Mike Budenholzer weren’t the Fredo of coaches, and Giannis wasn’t the Biff Tannen of players.