Onslaught of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo continues
Dan McCarney, NBA.com
Just how hot has Giannis Antetokounmpo been to start the 2017-18 season?
The Greek Freak’s 32 points against the Hornets on Monday marked his worst outing yet.
It was still just enough to give him a remarkable if esoteric achievement: a franchise-record 147 points through four games, one more than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recorded in 1969.
Combined with his usual all-around impact — a season-high 14 rebounds, along with six assists, one steal and two blocks — and it was yet another masterpiece for the blossoming young superstar.
If it’s too early to start talking about the Kia MVP award, let’s just say that whenever that time does come, Antetokounmpo will be No. 1 with a bullet barring a drop-off that, so far, seems almost impossible.
Monday’s outing was another edition of Antetokounmpo’s special brand of jaw-dropping, long-limbed bully ball. In a league that continues to emphasize outside shooting, just four of his 21 shots came outside the restricted area, and only one outside the paint. Despite that one-dimensionality, the Hornets — like the Celtics, Cavs and Blazers before them — were powerless to stop him as he converted 13 shots and drew eight free throws.
If not quite as spectacularly as Saturday’s win over Portland, which he sealed with a steal, slam and blocked shot in the final 12.1 seconds, Antetokounmpo saved his best for last against the Hornets.
He dominated the fourth, scoring 11 points with six rebounds and a pair of blocks. His lone assist in the period set up Khris Middleton for the biggest shot of the game, a 3-pointer that put the Bucks up five with 43 seconds left.
Antetokounmpo is now averaging 36.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists, joining Russell Westbrook as the only players to reach those thresholds through four games.
That represents just five percent of the marathon that is an NBA season. While that’s plenty of time for Antetokounmpo to cool off, it’s also 78 more opportunities to blow our collective minds.