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Khris Middleton addresses possibility of facing Giannis Antetokounmpo in FIBA World Cup

Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton says if USA and Greece meet in the FIBA World Cup in China, his Bucks teammate — superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo — is going to take that game “very personally.”

Antetokounmpo recently said he would trade his 2019 MVP trophy for a gold medal at the FIBA World Cup. Middleton says neither he nor Antetokounmpo are going to back down from one another if Team USA and Greece do end up facing each other:

“We’re both alike,” Middleton said, via Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. “We’re not backing down from anything or anybody. I know he’s going to take that game very personally. I’m sure if he sees me on the fast break, he’s going to try to run me through the wall. And it’s the same for me.

“Everybody knows the book [on how to guard him], but he’s an incredible player and he’s always trying to let you know he’s the best player. I don’t think people give him enough credit for how smart he is. If you try to take something away, he can still get to it and more.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton led the Bucks to the best record in the NBA last season. The two are very close, but won’t be friendly in China if they match up. There is potential for them to play in the second round of the tournament.

Antetokounmpo averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game in 2018-19 while shooting 57.8 percent from the floor and 72.9 percent from the free-throw line. The Bucks won 60 games.

The Bucks re-signed Middleton to a five-year, $178 million contract this summer. The swingman put up 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists last season.