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Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee Bucks brushes off MVP talk — ‘I don’t know if I’m there yet’ – ESPN
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Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee Bucks brushes off MVP talk — ‘I don’t know if I’m there yet’ – ESPN

two:16 AM ET

  • Tim MacMahonESPN Workers Author

    Shut

    • Joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009
    • Covers the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks
    • Appears frequently on ESPN Dallas 103.three FM

HOUSTON — A dominant all-around general performance in the Milwaukee Bucks’ 116-109 road acquire about reigning MVP James Harden’s Houston Rockets on Wednesday could have supplied Giannis Antetokounmpo a significant system to start out campaigning for the NBA’s most prestigious unique honor.

Antetokounmpo, nonetheless, dismissed the early MVP dialogue like he so often sidesteps defenders with his long-legged Euro stage.

“All I care about is winning, to be genuine with you,” Antetokounmpo claimed after scoring 27 factors, grabbing a occupation-significant 21 rebounds and dishing out five assists for the East-main Bucks in the get. “I know by winning — executing whichever it will take out there, encouraging your teammates and just leaving it everything on the flooring — everything will just take treatment of itself.”

If Antetokounmpo requirements a marketing campaign manager, Milwaukee massive male Brook Lopez looks up to the activity.

“I undoubtedly feel it is our belief within this locker space, and a great deal just all-around the league, that we have the finest participant in the league suitable listed here,” Lopez mentioned. “He does it in so lots of techniques. He tends to make so several of his players better. He is all more than the courtroom frequently. It truly is so remarkable to check out every night time.”

Harden, who has frequently and adamantly declared lately that he expects to earn MVP, did nothing to diminish his odds irrespective of an fantastic defensive effort and hard work by the Bucks, who regularly compelled Harden to drive to his correct and into Milwaukee’s huge guys. Harden experienced forty two details, eleven rebounds and 6 helps but was thirteen-of-thirty from the flooring and committed 9 turnovers.

Harden’s brilliance in the fourth quarter permitted the Rockets to slash a 15-issue deficit to 3 with 2:37 remaining, when he strike a difficult floater. But Harden skipped his final 4 pictures, which includes a pair of opportunity tying 3-tips on the possession adhering to his floater.

Antetokounmpo scored the dagger details in a fitting way, flying in from the wing for a suggestion-in that put the Bucks up 6 factors with 39.1 seconds to engage in.

“He just does everything,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He has a substantial effects on winning.”

Antetokounmpo has set himself in the discussion about the league’s ideal gamers by efficiently averaging 26.six factors, twelve.8 rebounds and six. helps and participating in dominant defense for a Milwaukee workforce that has the NBA’s ideal profitable proportion (29-11, .725). The Greek Freak is a special expertise capable of shielding the rim defensively and developing off the dribble — generally his very own stunning slam dunks — offensively.

“He’s not normal,” Rockets mentor Mike D’Antoni said. “I imply, that guy is seven ft and has the [overall body] command, and all that he does. The guy is a terrific, excellent participant, so he is in the [MVP] discussion, since they’re actively playing so properly. And he really should be, but we’ve acquired a lot of basketball still left.

“We are only midway there. He and James are up there with a few of other guys, and it’s going to kind alone out.”

Harden, whose league-foremost scoring typical is up to 33.9 details for each match right after his franchise-document-tying 12th forty-position overall performance of the time, acknowledged that Antetokounmpo has gained his way into the discussion about who is the very best player in the league.

“He is up there,” Harden claimed. “He’s absolutely [elite], just the way he impacts the video game.”

Antetokounmpo failed to want any portion of a dialogue about how the MVP race was shaping up as the NBA season’s midway position nears. He termed the nationally televised acquire above Harden’s Rockets “just a further video game,” acknowledging it was enjoyable actively playing in that variety of spotlight but emphasizing that the Bucks winning was crucial, not his particular person statistics.

Knowledgeable that Lopez declared that the Bucks feel he is the league’s finest participant, Antetokounmpo smiled and joked that the significant man is “my No. 1 lover.” But Antetokounmpo admitted that these kinds of position ranks superior amid his aims.

“To be trustworthy with you, all I treatment about appropriate now is acquiring greater, serving to my group get,” Antetokounmpo said. “And [turning into the league’s best player is] likely to take treatment of by itself. I know that a person day it may come about. I you should not know if I’m there nevertheless, but I’m heading to do what ever it takes to get there, since which is what I want to be.”

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