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Giannis Antetokounmpo says Bucks can ‘beat any team’ in the playoffs

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo is unequivocally confident of the Milwaukee Bucks’ chances in the upcoming postseason following a shorthanded 128-122 victory over conference rival Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.

“We haven’t been out of the first round. So we have to take it step by step,” Antetokounmpo told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, pounding his fist into his hand to emphasize each step. “You can’t jump steps.

“When we get to the playoffs, I think we can beat any team. We can beat any team.”

The Bucks were forced to play without point guard Eric Bledsoe, a capable scorer, and playmaker that saw himself ejected in the first quarter after a dodgeball-like confrontation with Sixers center Joel Embiid.

While Milwaukee managed to hang around, Antetokounmpo put the finishing touches in a brilliant game when it counted the most, bullying Ben Simmons in the post and erasing Joel Embiid with four of his five blocks on the night.

The Greek Freak accentuated every basket with authority, scoring a game-high 45 points with 12 rebounds, six assists and the aforementioned five blocks — a performance that only helps solidify his case for the Most Valuable Player award.

Antetokounmpo showed the full array — from dominant post-up plays to his destructive transition game, even canning 3-of-7 from deep while burying an effective 16-of-21 from the foul line.

The Bucks talisman had no turnovers in the game, a true testament of his laser-like focus in a statement game, one that speaks so much louder for the Bucks’ playoff chances heading in as the No. 1 seed.