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Giannis, Thanasis Establish International Prowess

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In preparation for the World Cup tour in September, Greece basketball competed in the Acropolis Tournament in Athens this weekend. Behind Giannis Antetokounmpo’s dominance and brother Thanasis‘s defense, the Greeks placed second. The Greek Freak siblings led their country to easy wins over Italy and Turkey before falling in overtime to Serbia. While just a tune-up for the main FIBA tournament, the Antetokounbros informed the basketball world that Americans have no monopoly on talent.

Greece-Italy

Greece easily defeated the Italians in Friday’s Acropolis opener. Giannis quickly pushed the Greeks to a 27-13 lead after the first quarter.

Giannis continued his display of might as Greece pushed the lead beyond 20.

By far the most impressive play of the night was Thanasis’s spectacular block.

Giannis finished with 18 points, and Thanasis added eight more as Greece easily defeated Italy 83-63. Both benches cleared in the fourth quarter, creating a pleasant environment for Greece. Ersan Ilyasova and Turkey followed.

Greece-Turkey

Late in the first quarter, Giannis displayed his euro-step ability.

The Turks kept the game close, but Greece kept control and eased to an 84-70 triumph thanks to a 21-13 fourth quarter. At the finish, the Bucks’ brothers teased Turkey with an alley-oop.

Giannis concluded with 16 points and 10 boards on 56% shooting. Thanasis added another eight points and seven boards. Greece dominated on Friday and Saturday, but the talented Serbs waited in the title game.

Greece-Serbia

Greece controlled the first 35 minutes, but couldn’t demoralize Serbia. Although, Giannis certainly did his best with a first-quarter slam over Bogdan Bogdanovic.

The 18,000+ sellout crowd later saw Giannis defeat Bogey again, this time with a cruel block.

Unfortunately, the determined Serbs succeeded with defense. Serbia rallied to an eight-point lead with only a minute left. After a Greece three and foolish Serbia turnover, Giannis stepped to the line for seemingly the most significant free throws of his career. After slowly and carefully making both, Thanasis tied the score with a dagger of a trey, and proudly let the home fans know.

The Antetokounbros combined for 37 points and Thanasis’s quick hands frustrated the Serbs in overtime. However, two critical fouls on the brothers led to five clinching free throws as Serbia prevailed 85-80. Thankfully, the Acropolis Tournament was friendly training, albeit hard-fought and competitive. The US and Greece will almost certainly win their World Cup groups. This outcome would establish a second-round group showdown between Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton against the Antetokounbros. Which, finally, would give Bucks fans an automatic win.

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About Jeffrey Newholm

"Jammin Jeff" Newholm had been a basketball fanatic since his high school days, and remained a casual fan as a student in Whitewater. Wishing to check in as an active participant, he also completed a writing certificate program at UWM. He loves seeing Bucks games more than any other activity in hometown Milwaukee and especially screaming really really loudly to get someone to miss a free throw. Twitter: @JeffreyNewholm

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