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    No Greek tragedy, but Giannis Antetokounmpo didn't play like a Greek god either

    Apr 29, 2018
    Giannis Antetokounmpo a picture of frustration on the Bucks bench after Game 7. AP
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    CHICAGO - His play wasn't a Greek tragedy, but he didn't perform like a Greek god either, finishing with a mortal-like 22 points on 7-of-17 shooting while committing four turnovers and picking up three quick fouls in the first half.

    The mind was willing but after a marathon series that reached its limit, a stiff battle spent mostly on carrying the Bucks on his back, Giannis Antetokounmpo had nothing more left to give.

    "I gave it everything," The Greek Freak told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

    It wasn't nearly enough as the Boston Celtics eliminated the Bucks courtesy of a one-sided 112-96 Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal on Saturday night (Sunday, Manila time) at the TD Garden.

    So how do you stop a force of nature such as The Greek Freak?

    The Celtics did it by committee and alternated Al Horford's length, rookie Semi Ojeleye's quickness and Marcus Smart's brute strength to stifle the 23-year old superstar. It worked fabulously as Antetokounmpo never got the traction required to take flight.

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    "Switching guys, guys were on my face. They were trying to make me uncomfortable all night," Giannis said of his 41-minute agony.

    Milwaukee faced long odds entering this winner-take-it all. Of the 128 previous Game 7s in NBA playoffs history, 102 were won by home teams. The Celtics were 19-4 on friendly grounds while the Bucks were 0-for-6 on the road in a Game 7.

    After seizing an early 15-10 lead, the Bucks' chances looked promising, but a 20-2 Boston run turned hope swiftly into a sluggish, agonizing defeat.

    Having already lost Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Daniel Theis to injuries at various points in this challenging season, the Celtics took another hit when Jaylen Brown, who averaged 17.9 points in this series, exited Game 7 at the 3:04 mark of the second quarter with a hamstring injury.

    It didn't matter.

    The resilient Celtics, whose winning tradition birthed 17 NBA titles, went on to make 45 of their 84 field goals for a clutch 53.6 percent clip. They converted only nine of 26 treys and missed eight of 21 free throws, but Boston outrebounded Milwaukee, 42-32, and cranked more assists, 28-21.

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    Horford, who has had his fair share of playoff disappointments in Atlanta, relished Game 7 with a 26-point, eight-rebound effort while rookie Jayson Tatum looked mature beyond his 20 years and finished with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists.

    The Celtics reserves were huge, too, showing up with 33 points.

    Khris Middleton rattled in 32 for the Bucks while Eric Bledsoe turned in 23. But the Milwaukee bench, which erupted for 50 points in the team's 116-92 Game Three win, flamed out in Game Seven with a disappointing 12 points, nine of which were from Jabari Parker.

    SHARP AS A ROZIER. Most of us basketball fans dream of shining under the bright lights, conjuring images of greatness while the rest of the world watched.

    Terry Rozier lived that moment in an epic Game 7 performance.

    The 16th pick in the 2015 NBA draft, Rozier handled the Celtics's point guard chores with impeccable ease, dishing nine against two turnovers. He tallied 26 points with six boards. And when the Bucks closed in at 95-82 with 6:01 to go in the final quarter Rozier slammed the door shut with back-to-back 3s.

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    Still under a rookie scale contract, the 24-year old Rozier is making only $1.9 million this season, Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe, whom Rozier has thoroughly outplayed this series, is pulling in $14.5 million, thanks to a five-year $70 million deal he signed in September 2014.

    When Rozier becomes a free agent, Boston GM Danny Ainge will need a Brinks truck to keep him in Beantown.

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    Giannis Antetokounmpo a picture of frustration on the Bucks bench after Game 7. AP
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