Giannis Antetokounmpo

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Antetokounmpo scores 28 points, Bucks beat Raptors 97-83

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TORONTO — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28 points, rookie Malcolm Brogdon had 16 and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Toronto Raptors 97-83 on Saturday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

Playing his second career playoff series, Antetekounmpo made 13 of 18 shots, and added eight rebounds and three assists. Greg Monroe added 14 points, Tony Snell had 11, and Khris Middleton finished with 10 points and nine assists.

DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 27 points, and Serge Ibaka had 19 points and 14 rebounds. The Raptors have lost the opening game in eight consecutive playoff series.

Toronto’s Kyle Lowry made only two of 11 field-goal attempts, missing all six 3-point efforts, and finished with four points. Jonas Valanciunas had nine points and nine rebounds.

Game 2 is Tuesday night in Toronto.

Antetekounmpo picked up his fourth foul with 4:33 left in the third and headed to the bench as Toronto’s P.J. Tucker was making two free throws to break a 64-all tie.

Without Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee closed the quarter on an 11-5 run to take a 75-70 lead into the fourth.

Milwaukee kept it going after Antetokounmpo returned for the final quarter. The Bucks scored eight straight points, including four from Khris Middleton, to make it 85-71 with 8:47 left.

Ibaka’s jump shot at 7:49 was Toronto’s first made field goal of the fourth. Toronto shot 7 for 35 in the second half, following up a 3 for 18 showing in the third by going 4 for 17 in the fourth. The Raptors went 27 for 75 overall.

Many in the sellout crowd headed for the exits throughout the final quarter as the Bucks stretched their lead to a game-high 19 points.

Ibaka was the only Raptors starter to make a 3-pointer. Toronto finished 5 for 23 from long range, with the starting five going 1 for 13. No Raptors player made more than one 3-pointer.

Toronto trailed 30-22 after the first but outscored Milwaukee 29-16 in the second to take a 51-46 lead at halftime. Ibaka scored 10 points in the first and DeRozan had 10 in the second, going 6 for 6 from the free throw line.

TIP INS

Bucks: Milwaukee shot 7 for 21 in the second. … Milwaukee has won consecutive games against Toronto after losing 13 of the previous 14 meetings.

Raptors: After playing 418 games over seven seasons, Tucker made his playoff debut. … DeRozan finished with one assist. … Actor Ethan Hawke attended the game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo goes fully horizontal on the rim after a dunk (VIDEO)

Giannis Antetokounmpo
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The EuroBasket tournament kicked off on Saturday and Greece opened the group stage with an 85-65 blowout win over Macedonia. Greece’s highlights included Giannis Antetokounmpo throwing down this dunk and then hanging on the rim completely horizontally, the kind of display of freakish athleticism that NBA fans have grown used to in his first two seasons with the Bucks:

This should get Bucks fans excited for the upcoming season.

Report: Bucks get Westbrook (not that one)

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Russell Westbrook isn’t going to Milwaukee.

Charlie Westbrook, though?

Shams Charania of RealGM:

Westbrook went undrafted out of South Dakota in 2012 and has played overseas and in the D-League since.

He’ll give Milwaukee 17 players, but just 14 15 of them have guaranteed salaries. So, Westbrook will join Jorge Gutierrez and Marcus Landry (both of whose contracts are fully unguaranteed) in competing to supplant a guaranteed player for a  regular-season roster spot.

The Bucks already several players capable of playing Westbrook’s position, shooting guard: Khris Middleton, O.J. Mayo, Rashad Vaughn, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jerryd Bayless and even one of Michael Carter-Williams or Greivis Vasquez in bigger lineups. Without a clear need for him, Westbrook will really have to impress to stick past the preseason.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scores career-high 22 points with Greek national team (VIDEO)

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Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 22 points in 25 minutes in a friendly against the Netherlands on Friday, a career high for the Greek national team:

Going into his third year for the Bucks, there’s been talk that he’ll play some center this year. If he can put his skill set together into an effective offensive game like he’s shown at times, he could become one of the most unguardable players in the NBA. The flashes are already there.

Giannis Antetokounmpo blocks shots, knocks down threes for Greece (VIDEO)

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The Bucks’ future cornerstone Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing for Greece this summer as they gear up for EuroBasket next month (an Olympic qualifying event). While that comes with an injury risk, for a raw young player like Antetokounmpo more time on the court is simply a good thing.

In this video from a friendly against Bosnia, Antetokounmpo is blocking shots and knocking down threes (hat tip Eye on Basketball and BrewHoop).

Blocking shots we expect to see.

However, the 3-of-6 from three in this game for Antetokounmpo is interesting. Last season he took just 44 threes in total (hitting seven) after being instructed to attack the rim by coach Jason Kidd (50.6 of his shot attempts were within 3 feet). As a rookie, he showed potential from the outside (35 percent from three) but he’s going to have to force opponents to respect his jumper to open things up.

Hitting threes in a friendly international against Bosnia and knocking them down against the Cavaliers or Bulls during the season are very different things, but this is a reason to be optimistic.