On Sunday afternoon, the Bucks and Nets treated us to one of the best games of this season, as Milwaukee held on late for a 117-114 win. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant were the shining stars of the day, with the reigning two-time MVP going off for 49 points in one of the most complete offensive showings of his career to out-duel a massive 42-point performance from Durant.
It was a sensational display of two of the game’s most unique players, as both players did what they do best and showed why they are unstoppable when at their peaks. Durant was 7-of-13 from three-point range and lit up the Bucks despite quality defensive efforts from deep and in the midrange. Antetokounmpo attacked downhill, but showed some tremendous touch from the short midrange, as well as a rare 4-of-8 outing from three that made him absolutely impossible to deal with.
However, after the game, Giannis explained that he wasn’t trying to go back-and-forth with KD because you can’t do that with one of the best scorers in NBA history, and that he was simply trying to make the right plays for his team at the right time, because if you try to out-iso score Durant you are going to lose most every time. He also spoke about his appreciation for Durant, calling him an inspiration to him growing up and also saying he’s a “once in a generation” player who should be appreciated by all.
“You want to be part of games like this. Growing up, you want to play against the best.” pic.twitter.com/6mcK2FvTAw
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 3, 2021
“What he does is unbelievable,” Giannis said. “Being 6’11, being able to shoot over everybody, and the way he can handle the ball and get to his spot to rise up is unbelievable. One of the best I’ve ever seen in my life. I looked up to him my whole life. … But different games. I like playmaking. I enjoy finding my teammates, putting them in positions to be successful. I love shot-blocking. Like, it’s different games. But you have to appreciate players like that, you know, because you don’t see them often. It’s one of a generation talent, and for sure, personally, I try to steal as much as I can from his game and as much as I’m capable of doing. Cause there’s some stuff that only he can do. But he’s a great player to watch and growing up I always looked up to him.”
Giannis isn’t as outwardly friendly with a lot of guys in the league, but you can tell his appreciation for greatness and respect for the best players like KD. I also appreciate him saying that he tries to steal from KD, but that there’s some stuff that no one else can do but Durant because of his unique skillset, size, and abilities. That is something that gets lost in a lot of the comparisons of guys to great players, and it’s an important note from Giannis that you can try to emulate KD all you want but he is truly a one-of-one and no one else can do everything he’s capable of.
It’s the same with Giannis, who can do other things at his size that are unique to him, particularly with his ability to stop and change direction at high speed with his long strides. Oftentimes people assume using your size isn’t a skill, but there have been a ton of 7-footers to come through the NBA and few if any have been able to do what Giannis and KD are capable of respectively.