MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo has gotten notice so much this year for his new streamlined cost-free-toss program: Pantomime his shooting kind with a identified search, then get the ball from the referee. Big exhale. Spin the ball in his hands. 1 dribble — and 1 dribble only — prior to he launches.
Complete matter requires a tick past six seconds.
As for any tweaks in Anthony Davis’ free-toss routine, uh, really don’t know. Didn’t see. The Los Angeles Lakers’ massive male didn’t shoot any in his team’s 109-102 reduction to the Bucks Wednesday night time at Fiserv Forum.
Their absence was duly famous by Lakers mentor Frank Vogel, who described a few of situations that the league place of work would be listening to about it.
“You label clips in the portal each game,” Vogel explained afterward. “Then when there’s a huge discrepancy, like we observed with them capturing 12 free throws in the fourth quarter and Anthony Davis acquiring flagrant-fouled on a dunk on one particular engage in and having zero totally free-throw makes an attempt for the sport, it is just frustrating. So we converse with the director of officiating, we mail clips in the portal and they do a good position of assessing that things. And that’s just the system.”
That sort of appeal is lobbying for a further video game, changing almost nothing about Wednesday night’s end result. The Lakers, understandably, are frustrated a month into this 2021-22 period. They are 8-8 now, with LeBron James sitting out the past eight video games (3-5) with an abdominal strain. They have pieces to suit, bonding to do, chemistry to make.
And get this: the Lakers’ 20.1 totally free-throw tries for each activity are the fewest in franchise heritage. Davis is finding 5.8 nightly to direct these Lakers, who rank 12th in the NBA in attempts for each match — down from sixth (23.3) final time and eighth (24.3) in 2019-20.
Earning fewer trips to the line than their opponents four moments in the past seven games, and just seven periods so considerably this time, barely seems like a crisis. And Davis — who did imagine he acquired fouled on a breakout dunk participate in in which Antetokounmpo’s right knee banged into Davis’ thigh, a quite non-flagrant foul to which Vogel alluded — fundamentally shrugged and put the onus back again on his workforce.
“Part of it is, we’re not obtaining the foul phone calls,” he claimed. “And then portion of it is, us as a staff. … Go in and try out to end as an alternative of hoping to get the connect with.”
Aspect of L.A. becoming rankled was having whistled nearly two times as often as Milwaukee, 19-10. And viewing Antetokounmpo get 11 free of charge throws, eight of which he designed.
The Bucks’ star and Davis the two played 37 minutes and the matchup went Antetokounmpo’s way: 47 factors, nine rebounds, 3 assists, a person steal, a single block, on 18-of-23 shooting over-all, 3-of-4 on 3-tips and the aforementioned totally free throws. Davis completed with 18-9-4 with two blocks, on 9-of-15 capturing (-for-1 on 3-ideas).
For all the two teams’ problems at this place, with accidents and protocol absences contributing greatly to their put together 15-16 mark, there was the “Greek Freak” vs. “AD” matchup.
On a evening when practically 7% of the NBA’s Best 75 players were in the constructing — Antetkounmpo, Davis, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony performed, with James on the visitors’ bench in avenue clothing — that was really worth popping the popcorn. Squint a very little and you could see some of the wonderful, fun significant-male clashes stretching again across the league’s historical past: Monthly bill Russell vs. Wilt Chamberlain. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. Elvin Hayes. Bob Lanier vs. Moses Malone. Hakeem Olajuwon vs. David Robinson. Tim Duncan vs. Kevin Garnett.
This was not just dinosaurs down low, banging relentlessly in the write-up like the old-schoolers, but there was some of that. But Antetokounmpo and Davis represented peak evolution of big-man perform, cell, speedy, sturdy and competent. They tormented just about every other all night time, attacking the rim but also dueling from outdoors. Just about every snuffed the other’s shot as soon as.
Here’s Antetokounmpo on coping with Davis: “He can shoot the ball, he can experience up. Go still left, shoot more than you, y’know, [at] 6-11. So you have obtained to guard folks like that as a group. For me personally, I just try to make it as really hard as probable for him. Consider to use my length. When he attempts to go in the paint, I consider to be as actual physical as attainable, I think the identical way he attempts to guard me. But I really don’t believe there ended up a good deal of plays in which he drove to the paint and we pushed just one yet another early, for him to go to the line much more.”
And Davis on Antetkounmpo: “We want him shooting that three ball — he’s gotten improved at that. Everybody versus the Lakers will make their 3s. I signify, we know he’s been operating on it, but which is a shot that we’re residing with. Then most of the time, the place we’d change, they’d throw it around the best and he’s there. Or we’re in a choose-and-roll and I step up on the guard and now he’s bought him in the pocket, now he’s gonna have the scaled-down person.
“We type of switched up in the 3rd quarter where by we ended up hoping to be a very little extra physical. It slowed him down, but then he created a pair much more jumpers. Then when we went zone and they set him in the center, when he’s closer to the basket, and now you are scrambling and they can start out overloading to a person side. He’s 7 foot. A whole lot of his photographs were being in the paint. But he was hitting some large-time photographs to maintain us honest.”
The lopsided stats line seemed considerably less so strictly in the next fifty percent. Davis scored 10 points to Antetokounmpo’s 19 but had much more rebounds (7-4), was +9 to his counterpart’s -9 and the Lakers received the 50 %, 49-45.
They and their groups are scheduled to satisfy for the 2nd and past time this season Feb. 8 at the Lakers’ newly redubbed arena, “The Crypt.” Cross your fingers for a further aged-fashioned showdown of two new-age bigs.
“That’s one particular of the finest gamers in the league,” Antetokounmpo reported. “You’ve received to have your guard up. You have received to be all set to contend with a male like Anthony Davis. And a dude like Carmelo and a man like Russell Westbrook. Men like that, if they odor worry, they go at you.
“The exact with me: if I see somebody fearful of me, I’m heading all night time. I’m not gonna stop. So you’ve obtained to be all set to just take the obstacle and you’ve bought to be keen to just take the problem.”
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Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.
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