He walks into the locker room, undresses, wraps a towel around his lower body, puts protective covers on his toes and plunks his feet into a red bucket that is filled to the brim with ice water. Actually, he ices after every game, but after losses, he does it for longer. After losses, he soaks in silence. He is thinking.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ training staff never keeps him waiting. Midway through the fourth quarter, the bucket is full.
On Sunday, after the Bucks’ 112-90 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Antetokounmpo sat in silence with his head disapprovingly shaking every few minutes. He glanced at a stat sheet and exhaled. He carefully folded the paper in half and set it in his locker, no doubt so he could pour over it again later. When he finally rose, he did so slowly, sliding his mammoth feet into his shower shoes.nike nfl jersey cheap
It’s impossible to get in between Antetokounmpo’s ears, but it’s reasonable to think he was replaying how Al Horford and Aron Baynes collapsed in on him all game. He might’ve been thinking of his one-point first quarter. The box score he had tucked away told Antetokounmpo that the Celtics had outscored the Bucks by 24 points when he was on the court, tied for the worst plus-minus of his playoff career (Game 6 at Toronto in the 2017 first round).
As one Bucks front office member put it: “This couldn’t have gone much worse.”
The highest-volume 3-point shooting team in the NBA not named the Houston Rockets went 13-for-39 from beyond the arc. Three players — Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Nikola Mirotic — combined for nine of those 13. No other Buck hit more than one.
Milwaukee’s bench didn’t provide much extra help. Pat Connaughton, the Bucks’ surprise spark in the first round of the playoffs, scored just five points against the Celtics. In one game against the Pistons, Connaughton gave Milwaukee a defensive boost with four blocks. On Sunday, the Bucks were outscored by 21 points when Connaughton was on the floor.
Antetokounmpo’s attempts to drive to the hoop were largely unfruitful. He shot 3-for-17 on contested shots in Game 1. And with Horford and Baynes getting the bulk of the defensive assignment, Antetokounmpo shot 27 percent (4-of-15) in the paint, his worst percentage in the paint in a game this season.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale
During one missed drive on which Antetokounmpo was fouled, he smacked the stanchion in clear frustration.
Antetokounmpo finished with 22 laborious points and shot just 7-of-21 from the field. Khris Middleton, who kept the Bucks in the game early, finished with 16 points. But Brook Lopez, who earned the nickname “Splash Mountain” for his ability to nail deep 3s, had just three points in the game. He was 1-of-4 from beyond the arc. Eric Bledsoe had just six points in 25 minutes.