Greece coach explains why Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out 4th quarter vs. Team USA
Milwaukee Bucks fans who watched Team USA’s game against Greece were probably puzzled. The Greek Freak spent the fourth quarter of his nation’s 69-53 loss against his fellow NBA players on the bench.
Understandably, Greek fans who made the trip all the way to Shenzhen was exasperated by the Greek head coach’s decision to bench his best player against the heavy favorites to win the tournament.
However, the coaching staff was quick to explain the logic behind his controversial decision: he was apparently saving the reigning NBA MVP for a game they consider more important.
Aris Barkas of EuroHoops recounted what Greece coach Thanasis Skourtopoulos said in the post-game presser:
“It was a decision we took jointly with Giannis. We wanted to protect him and rest as we did with other players of our main rotation. We have a big game coming on Monday, and this is the most important thing for us now.”
Giannis may have only played for three quarters, but he had the longest time on the floor for the Greeks at 26:43. He also led the team in scoring with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Kemba Walker was the man who took over for Team USA. He scored 15 points and dished six assists in 25 minutes of action. Donovan Mitchell provided additional scoring with his 10 in 27 minutes.
Team USA managed to execute their gameplan against the league MVP to perfection. With this win, they have a better shot of getting a favorable seed later in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Greece has a tough match against the Czech Republic, who managed to overpower a Brazil team that was able to contain The Greek Freak. Greece will have a tough time ahead of this match and will need Giannis at his best to get the dub.