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Giannis Antetokounmpo let the basketball world know there isn’t a single player who can stop him without help from their teammates after he led the Milwaukee Bucks to a 106-97 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.
A reporter asked Antetokounmpo if he enjoyed being his matchup against Thaddeus Young because some believe the Pacers forward is capable of containing him, and he said the following (via Matt Velazquez of the Journal Sentinel):
“Oh, come on man. Thaddeus Young, he’s a great guy, first of all. Amazing player, amazing teammate, plays hard. At the end of the day, I’m not trying to sound arrogant and cocky because that’s not who I am, but I don’t think there’s one guy that can stop me. It’s going to be a whole team effort. They’ve got to load, they’ve got to double-team me. When I get to the paint, three guys swarm at me. That’s the only way. They’ve got to all work together to stop me from making plays—not getting points, from making plays. But he’s a great defensive guy.”
Young and his teammates couldn’t stop Antetokounmpo from notching a triple-double Wednesday with 33 points, 19 rebounds and 11 assists behind 12-of-22 shooting from the field in a dominant performance.
The showing was all the more impressive considering Indiana is one of the best defensive teams in the league. The Pacers rank second in the league in defensive rating behind only Antetokounmpo’s Bucks, per NBA.com.
As for Young, he holds opponents to 1.2 percentage points below their normal shooting average when he defends them this season, per NBA.com.
It’s difficult to argue with Antetokounmpo’s assessment of his own game considering he’s a 6’11” matchup nightmare who can drive to the lane like a guard, score over the top of defenders, finish through contact and find open teammates when multiple defenders swarm him as he gets inside the paint.
He is firmly in the middle of the MVP race as a result, and he has the Bucks atop the Eastern Conference standings at 43-14 and in position to win their first playoff series since the 2000-01 campaign.