Giannis Antetokounmpo had a rough Basketball World Cup this past offseason, as Greece was knocked out in the second round and will have to participate in an additional tournament if it wants to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Plus for the reigning NBA MVP, an early exit could not have felt good considering his Milwaukee Bucks’ inability to make the 2019 NBA Finals.
The good news for Giannis is he was able to extract a small measure of revenge on Friday night. Milwaukee beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 127-114, with Antetokounmpo scoring 37 points and hauling in 11 rebounds in a mere 27 minutes of work. Part of the reason he was able to accomplish this was that the Grizzlies employ Bruno Caboclo, who Eric Nehm of The Athletic reports inspired the Greek Freak to have a monster night.
Caboclo broke up an alley-oop attempt by Antetokounmpo in the waning moments of Brazil’s 79-78 win over Brazil. As he explained after the game, Antetokounmpo asked Greece teammate Georgios Papagiannis who Caboclo plays for, and when he said Memphis, Giannis told him to watch the game.
Via The Athletic:
With the Bucks trailing, 98-97, and 9 minutes, 40 seconds remaining, Caboclo defended Antetokounmpo on the left wing. Grizzlies wing Solomon Hill left Khris Middleton to help Caboclo on the drive, and Antetokounmpo found Middleton in the left corner. With Hill recovering late, Middleton drove baseline. Caboclo stepped over to cut off the lane, and Middleton delivered a perfect pocket pass to Antetokounmpo, who rose off his left foot just outside the restricted area and dunked on Caboclo with his right hand.
“On your f*cking head!” Antetokounmpo yelled at Caboclo on the way down the floor.
If you missed the game, here’s the dunk.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 14, 2019
It’s pretty common that Antetokounmpo dunks on guys, but it’s not all that common he’s able to dunk on someone and get a measure of revenge for something that happened while he wore a Greece shirt. Regardless, this was a good throw down and one heck of a cathartic moment for Antetokounmpo, and it assuredly helped that it played a role in the Bucks winning their 17th game in a row.