Giannis Says His Body and Mind Were 'Heavy' by End of Bucks' Series vs. Celtics

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 15, 2022

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 15: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts on the bench during the fourth quarter in Game Seven of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on May 15, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

As the Milwaukee Bucks attempted to extend their season Sunday in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the mileage was beginning to add up for Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Following a 109-81 loss to the Boston Celtics, the two-time MVP told reporters he was starting to feel the fatigue physically and mentally:

Ben Golliver @BenGolliver

Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo after season-ending Game 7 loss to Celtics: "Legs heavy. Body heavy. Mind heavy. Everything was heavy."

Eric Nehm @eric_nehm

Giannis Antetokounmpo: "Shots that I usually make wasn't going in, but that's basketball. That's sports."

For a player at Antetokounmpo's level, failing to advance past the conference semifinals will widely be viewed as a disappointment, especially when his team had a 3-2 series lead. But the Bucks' Game 6 loss showed how this outcome can't really be laid at the feet of the 6'11" standout.

Antetokounmpo dropped 44 points, 20 rebounds and six assists, which weren't enough to propel his team to a win. That's largely because the rest of the Bucks shot 22-of-58 from the field and 5-of-26 on three-pointers.

Milwaukee was always going to lean heavily on its best player, but Khris Middleton's knee injury meant the Greek Freak would have to assume an even larger role.

According to Basketball Reference, his usage rate during last year's championship run was 31.8 percent. His usage climbed to 38.9 percent this postseason prior to Sunday's game. That was on pace to be the sixth-highest in a single playoffs since 1977-78.

Of the top 10 players on that list, only Michael Jordan in 1992-93 went on to be a part of a title-winning team.

Having to be so reliant on one player hurts on two fronts. Not only does it make the offense too predictable, but said player inevitably begins to feel that burden. Even somebody as physically imposing as Antetokounmpo can only take so much.