In Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Milwaukee Bucks megastar Giannis Antetokounmpo had a night to forget from the free throw line en route to a 118-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns. But what was more shocking than his rough outing from the line was hearing fans counting during his attempts.
After the game, Giannis was asked about the chanting he heard from the Suns fans whenever he missed a throw – which occurred five times. He admitted that he couldn’t help but hear it given that there were “20,000 people yelling.”
“Of course I notice. There’s 20,000 people yelling one, two, three, four,” the Bucks star said.
Giannis ultimately went 7-of-12 from the line – well below his regular average. He finished the game with 20 points, 17 rebounds and four assists in the Game 1 loss.
Giannis on the Suns crowd's deafening chants when he's at the FT line:
"Of course I notice. There's 20,000 people yelling one, two, three, four."
— David Brandt (@davidbrandtAP) July 7, 2021
Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t exactly rank at the top of the league when it comes to free throws. But the postseason has been rougher than usual for him.
In 16 playoff appearances he’s had 10 games where he’s finished under 60-percent from the free throw line. In the regular season, that happened 19 times out of 61 games played.
As the NBA Finals progress, we could very well see the Suns use the “Hack-a-Shaq” strategy to force Giannis to the line.
Giannis needs to fix his free throw woes ASAP if he wants to turn this series around. Can he overcome the issues in time to save the Bucks’ NBA title dream?