Giannis Antetokounmpo Is Off to a Historic Start in the 2017 NBA Playoffs
There were many differences between Games 1 and 2. Chief among them was the performance of Toronto's backcourt duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. In Game 1, the two combined for 31 points, shooting just 9 of 32 (28.1%) from the field. In Game 2, they scored an efficient 45 points on 15-of-30 shooting.
For Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been the Bucks' rock, averaging 26.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 40.3 minutes a game. In Game 1, he tallied a new playoff career-high of 28 points.
Despite the loss in Game 2, he still yielded 24 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists in the close defeat. From that performance, the Greek Freak inserted himself into Bucks history alongside franchise greats.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: 3rd Bucks player w/20 pts, 15 reb, 5 ast in playoff game, joining Sam Cassell & Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@EliasSports) pic.twitter.com/Ct3qfa48XQ
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 19, 2017
Giannis is the first @Bucks player since @kaj33 with 6+ offensive rebounds, 6+ defensive rebounds & 6+ assists in an #NBAPlayoffs game. pic.twitter.com/NjLIzuMhat
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) April 19, 2017
Both historical notes speak to Antetokounmpo's versatility and overall impact on a game. Even in a losing effort, he managed to put a mark on the game in a few different areas.
And through two games, that's what positions the 22-year-old side-by-side with these six names.
Since the 1983-84 season, only eight other times has a player put up at least 52 points, 23 rebounds and 10 assists in their first two playoff games to start a postseason. Of the seven players to accomplish this feat, he has played the least amount of minutes with the exception of Michael Jordan, who played out of his mind and averaged more than a point per minute in his first two games of the '92 playoffs.
Giannis has shown us two things through two games -- he is primed for greatness, and he is hands-down the best player in the series.
For that reason, despite the Raptors' being the much better team -- No. 3 versus No. 13 in our nERD rankings -- the Bucks have a chance to pull the upset.