TORONTO – Almost as soon as Milwaukee Bucks stunned in game 4 of the Finals series at an Eastern Conference with Toronto Raptors, Tuesday 120-102, making the best of three now, one of the rarest sights in basketball in the dressing room of the visitors.
Greek God – or at least the closest thing the NBA needs to achieve – is completely struck.
Janice Anetkunmpo sat in the closet locker which seemed more appropriate to visit Arena Scottbank's top scorers, a towel with a towel wrapped around his waist and his knees bandaged to hold the ice packs that cooled the main joints until the legs watered with an even drier, ice bath.
Buck's superstar looked deep in thought as his left hand held his head sinking to the ground as a number of media surrounded him.
At first, Antetokounmpo seemed confused by the crowd gathering around him in his relative nakedness, but then the cracks began to show: He began to play with his knuckles, looked at his phone a little, and finally closed his eyes, pressed his Ears with his huge hands and they dropped their head again, almost like a child trying to forget a bad memory.
You can not blame him, indeed, and not when his ability to prevent this blow and give his team a chance to be a victory away from the finals was ripe for picking.
It was not the largest window, but within five minutes, 54 seconds between the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth, there was a chance when Antequocampo could finally put his seal in the final conference series of the Eastern Conference. and came out with the kind of individual shine that MVP should be able to do.
With 1:17 left to play in the third quarter, hit Raptors star Kawhi Leonard stepped out of the game, giving Antetokounmpo a rare opportunity to get rid of Raptors' shadow, which seemed to watch him in all matches as Toronto's head coach. Nick sister tried to find a break for Leonard with Antetokounmpo for most of the game.
At this point in the match, when Kyle Lowry became a free kick, the Raptors threatened to escape the game by taking the 91-76 lead.
That would have happened now or never for Bucks and Anttetownmpo knew that. As such, after Milwaukee's subsequent possession, Antetokunpoo received a key to Norman Powell and also saw the inconsistency of Serge Ibakka's perimeter with Malcolm Broghden. Recognizing this, he sent the way to the Brook Pass, and Buck's guards did well with her.
Raptors, however, will react after Powell then hit a triple triple with 36 seconds to play in a quarter. Then Antetokounmpo responded with his own troika to pull Bucks within 13 to the end of the frame and felt he could do something special in the last period.
Then the fourth quarter began, and although Leonard dropped out of the floor for his first 4:37, Antetokounmpo was extremely poor, marking only one point while dividing a pair of free throws – a common theme for him all night – near the start of the frame, adding to the Raptors game four points, polluting Ibaka under the edge while the three-legged Fred VanVleet folds and shakes home and finally rolls the ball leading to the death of Powell's superb charge. rappers of 20.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholtzer had no choice but to take the time out and to get Antechokunpo off the floor, leaving 8:31 and Leonard still on the bench.
Overall, Antetokounmpo had a good game, scored 25 points, pulled 10 rebounds and pulled five assists while firing 9 to 17 off the field.
But when the chance was there, Antetokounmpo simply did not deliver, a good statistical game to be cursed.
And that's probably the reason why Anthonputo seems so deep in thought. He knows he has had a blow and knows that his team relies on him to fix it.
"He has a focus that may be a bit stronger," Budenholtzer said during the morning shootout before Game 4. "He always strives to come back and play, which is one of the many things that makes him great. , along with everyone else, is ready to play today. "
Brodden was added, also during the shelling: "Janice is a MVP, he will be sustainable, he's as steady as he is."
It did not look strong enough.
So, there was Antechocunpo with his eyes closed and his head in his hands, trying to block the world until he finally opened his eyes and began to unpack the bandages, pulled his feet out of the ice bath, and headed for the showers.
When he appeared in a gray-blue suit to sit down and answer questions, he almost imagined he wanted to return to this vulnerable position just a few minutes ago.
"We do not need any change, they've done a good job, and now we have to do a better job," Anthokocunpo said.
Later he added: "There is no pressure, it is obvious that we have to take care of the home – that's our job – but there is no pressure, we just have to go there, have fun, play good basketball and try to win. "
These are the right things to say, but they also sound as if he tells them more to convince.
How could he not?
Game 5 goes on Thursday in Milwaukee and how Antockokunpo will answer will be of great interest.