Taming the Greek Freak no easy feat for Blazers
Will Giannis Antetokounmpo spoil Portland's hot streak?
Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has unleashed a bevy of problems for Portland since joining the NBA in 2013.
The Antetokounmpo-era Bucks have left Portland without a win in the series since February 2, 2016, and they’ll be hoping to ride their big man to another victory on Tuesday.
Portland is off to a 7-3 start to the 2018 NBA season and they'll be looking to contain Milwaukee's (8-1) big man on home court.
Here’s a look back at the last two meetings from the Blazers and Bucks with what to expect from the Greek Freak on Tuesday.
Who guarded Antetokounmpo in the last two encounters?
Noah Vonleh was tasked with guarding Antetokounmpo in the two teams’ last meeting on November 30, 2017. That night, the Bucks All-Star dropped 20 points, 5 assists, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, and three blocks to lift the Bucks over Portland 103-91.
Evan Turner attempted to guard the Antetokounmpo on October 21, 2017 when the Bucks forward exploded for 44 points, 8 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. Portland dropped that game 110-113.
"I was comfortable with everything," Turner told NBA.com. "If I made him take 10 dribbles in the post, made him spin two or three times and he makes the shot, there's nothing you can ask for. He got on a roll, hit some jumpers, had a great night. I guarded him the same way every time."
Who will guard Antetokounmpo tonight?
The most likely candidate to be charged with slowing down Antetokounmpo tonight is Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu.
The last time the Bucks and Blazers met, Aminu came off the bench for Portland after missing 13 games previously with a sprained ankle. He’ll be in full force tonight and the Blazers will need his defensive presence to tame the Greek Freak.
The Blazers will rely heavily on their defense, which is currently ranked No. 5 in the NBA, up 16 spots from last season.
What does Portland have to do to stop “Young Jordan”?
Our Trail Blazers insiders Dwight Jaynes and Jamie Hudson sounded off on what Portland will need to do to contain Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 21.6 points, 13.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.
Dwight Jaynes: “Impossible to stop him. Try to make him shoot medium range. Keep him out of the paint.”
Jamie Hudson: “You’re not gonna stop Giannis. I think the focus tonight for the Blazers will be stopping the rest of the Bucks and making sure to slow down Antetokounmpo so he doesn’t go off and have another career night against them. Going at him on the offensive end to try to get him into early foul trouble couldn’t hurt just to see how the officiating is going to call this game. But he’s so lengthy and gets so many clean blocks that can be the last thing a player wants to do. They don’t call him The Greek Freak for nothing!”