Suns’ Chris Paul: Even Giannis anticipates he’ll miss his free throws

Jul 17, 2021, 11:44 PM
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots a free throw as Chris Paul #3 of the Phoeni...
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots a free throw as Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns watches during the second half in Game Two of the NBA finals at Phoenix Suns Arena on July 08, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

It’s pretty obvious when Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is at the free throw line, especially when he’s shooting on the road.

Footprint Center on Saturday night’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals was no exception, as the raucous Phoenix Suns crowd continued to count during the two-time MVP’s routine at the charity stripe.

Milwaukee was 9-of-17 from the free throw line (52.9%) in the Bucks’ 123-119 win. Antetokounmpo went 4-for-11 (36.4%) from the charity stripe on the night.

“Everybody’s out there anticipating a miss. Hell, even he is,” Suns point guard Chris Paul said postgame.

But even when the Bucks missed their free throws, the Suns struggled to grab the rebound, giving Milwaukee second-chance opportunities late in the game.

“We got to keep trying to box out,” Paul said. “And with his length, he tipped the ball up in the air — ain’t too much you can do.”

“That was a horrible miss,” Suns center Deandre Ayton added postgame. “It was just an athletic play. He tipped it behind him knowing that his teammates are there. It was a bad miss.”

Antetokounmpo said he can live with missing his free throw attempts because he did what he always does and went through his routine, even when the likes of the Suns’ crowd and players did their best to get the two-time MVP off his game at the charity stripe.

“Sometimes I go to the free throw line and I’m nervous a little bit, but this time, I wasn’t nervous at all because I was so dialed in. I just missed,” he said.

“But there’s going to be times that they are going to talk, the opposing players are going to talk, the crowd is going to yell. But just got to keep playing through that. Keep playing, keep your composure and just keep trying to do whatever is possible to help the team win.”

Phoenix Suns

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Suns’ Chris Paul: Even Giannis anticipates he’ll miss his free throws