Suns plot ‘Giannis Wall’ to protect NBA Finals edge
Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul said on Tuesday his team will try to “build a wall” in front of dominant Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo in their bid to secure the franchise’s first NBA championship.
Phoenix leads the best-of-seven NBA Finals 2-1. But the series appears far from over as Antetokounmpo has been nothing short of unstoppable since Milwaukee lost the opening game, and has proven to be too much for the Suns to contain.
Over the last two games the “Greek Freak,” as he’s been nicknamed, has become only the second player in history with back-to-back 40-point, 10-rebound games in the NBA Finals. That puts him in elite company with Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.
“We’re going to keep trying to build a wall,” Paul said ahead of Wednesday’s Game Four in Milwaukee.
“He’s coming full speed every play, like a (NFL) running back coming downhill. Coach has a saying, we just say we try to get in his way. But he’s able to do that because he’s surrounded by some really good players too.”
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Antetokounmpo’s interior dominance has breathed new life into an NBA Finals that initially appeared headed for a quick finish after Phoenix won the first two games of the series.
The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player’s work in the paint has led some to compare him to Lakers great O’Neal.
“Regardless of how he scores, he does it. You know what I mean? He comes down there, he dunks, he dunks some more and he shoots a layup,” said Paul.
“We have to try to figure out a way to slow him down… I don’t care what the stat sheet looks like after the game. Win the game.”
Antetokounmpo, who returned to action for the NBA Finals after missing two games of the Eastern Conference finals with a hyperextended left knee, has shown no ill effects of the injury and says he feels great.
While Milwaukee is raring to go, Antetokounmpo said the Bucks will enjoy a full two days off between Sunday’s Game Three, which they won handily, and Wednesday’s clash.
“It’s good for us mentally and physically and for me also,” said Antetokounmpo during a break in practice on Tuesday.
“I always like to have a little bit more time in between the games so I can get a little bit more rest and recover a little bit better and be able to go and play hard.”