"The disrespect of Giannis Antetokounmpo must end... Giannis is the answer to every major NBA question right now" - Nick Wright makes his pick for the Boston Celtics-Milwaukee Bucks matchup

Antetokounmpo looking ahead to the challenge of facing the Celtics
Antetokounmpo looking ahead to the challenge of facing the Celtics

Giannis Antetokounmpo remains Nick Wright’s pick to win the East, despite the Boston Celtics' dominance in round one. The Milwaukee Bucks progressed into the next round of the playoffs after beating the Chicago Bulls by a 16-point margin in Game 5. Giannis finished with 33 points and nine assists, leading the team’s offense.

The Brooklyn Nets not being able to register a single win against the Celtics has turned them into a problem for offenses. A player of Kevin Durant’s caliber wasn’t nearly as impactful, raising a discussion on “First Things First” about how Antetokounmpo would fare against the Cs.

"The disrespect of Giannis must end. The idea that the best player in the league is going to lose in Rd 2? Stop it.... The Bucks Big 2, without Middleton, is better than the Nets Big 2. Giannis is the answer to every major NBA question right now. I have the Bucks."—@getnickwright

Nick Wright felt disrespect thrown at Giannis Antetokounmpo and responded by saying:

“The disrespect of Giannis Antetokounmpo must end, it has to end. The idea that the best player in the league who is going to finish his career, I believe, as one of the 12 greatest players ever – at a minimum. As the second greatest player of his own generation – that guy is going to lose in Round 2? Stop it!”

The Bucks will match-up with the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. They must face the challenge of taking on a well-oiled defensive system – that was able to take down Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. But Giannis Antetokounmpo has proven his worth in the league, with a reputation as an exceptional two-way forward.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's stats in 'closeout games' in the 2021 NBA Playoffs last year 👀36.7 points13.0 rebounds7.3 assists58.2 FG%

Nick Wright believes the Celtics are facing a team much superior to the Nets:

“The Bucks ‘Big-Two’ – without Khris Middleton – is better than the Nets’ ‘Big-Two.’ Giannis is a better player than Kevin Durant. And Jrue Holiday is a better player than Kyrie Irving, if you wanna actually win basketball games and not win the Bleacher Report Instagram feed.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday led the way for the Bucks in round one against the Chicago Bulls after they lost Khris Middleton to an injury in Game 2. Over the last three games in the series, Giannis averaged 27.7 points and 11 rebounds, while Holiday contributed 17.3 points and 7.3 assists.

How far can Giannis Antetokounmpo take the Bucks without Khris Middleton?

Injuries in the playoffs can be detrimental to a team’s success, and we’ve had quite a few instances of that kind over the years. Khris Middleton being forced to the sidelines and being ruled out for the Celtics series will definitely be a challenge for the Bucks. But Antetokounmpo’s growth has given enough evidence to his ability to close games out.

Middleton has quite often been a reliable option for the Bucks, late in games when a bucket is needed to go-ahead. At the same time, Giannis’ repertoire has improved along with his fearlessness – making him a formidable foe to any defense. His size gives him an added advantage in finding an open man, when he’s heavily guarded.

Khris Middleton's left MCL injury is a Grade 2 sprain, per @ShamsCharaniaHe will likely miss Milwaukee’s second-round series vs. Boston and may not be cleared for the conference finals if the Bucks advance.

According to Nick Wright, Khris Middleton being out does not rule out the Bucks as a contender – because they still have Giannis Antetokounmpo:

“Giannis is the answer to every major NBA question right now. I said Milwaukee would gentlemen sweep their way through the Eastern Conference. Obviously, the Khris Middleton injury makes that far more difficult. But do I think this takes it from a gentleman sweep to a Bucks loss? Of course not!”

The seven-game series between the Celtics and the Bucks is set to start on May 1st at TD Garden. The strategy that worked on Durant could be used against Giannis as well, or Ime Udoka might even have something different up his sleeve this time around.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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