Brazil HC Aleksandar Petrovic After Greece Win: I've Known How to Stop Giannis

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2019

NANJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 03: Antetokounmpo Giannis(2nd R) #34 of Greece in action during 2nd round Group F match between Greece and Brazil of 2019 FIBA World Cup at Nanjing Youth Olympic Sports Park Gymnasium on September 03, 2019 in Nanjing, China. (Photo by Shi Tang/Getty Images)
Shi Tang/Getty Images

Brazil head coach Aleksandar Petrovic said Tuesday he was more concerned about Greece's Kostas Sloukas and Georgios Printezis than reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks ahead of the Brazilians' 79-78 upset win in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Petrovic told reporters he watched the Bucks' playoff series against the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors to learn how to slow down the "Greek Freak:"

"We showed that we have several players who can stop Antetokounmpo. But yesterday I was more occupied with Sloukas and Printezis, and that's what happened today. When I was preparing this game, a lot of people talked and joked about how to stop Antetokounmpo. I had for six months in my head, since the semifinals between Toronto and Milwaukee, how to stop Antetokounmpo. The problem tonight for us was Sloukas and Printezis."

The 60-year-old Croatia native, who's compiled nearly three decades of coaching experience after a 14-year playing career in Europe, credited veteran swingman Alex Garcia for his defensive work against one of the world's best players.

"Why this sport is wonderful?" Petrovic asked rhetorically. "On the other side, you have a guy who won the MVP, he's [24] years old, and who stops him tonight? The guy who is [39] years old and kicks his ass on the court. That's basketball."

Antetokounmpo attempted just seven shots in 29 minutes. He finished with 13 points, four rebounds and three steals. He turned the ball over three times and fouled out with four seconds left.

Micah Adams @MicahAdams13

Shot chart for Giannis in the 4th quarter. I'm not a professional basketball coach but methinks he should probably be taking more than one shot in the 4th quarter on this Greece team (or really any team). https://t.co/vDTrQw4Da6

Printezis led all Greek scorers with 20 points. Sloukas added nine points and 11 assists, but he missed a potential game-tying free throw with two seconds left.

Former NBA center Anderson Varejao led the Brazilians with 22 points and nine rebounds.

Antetokounmpo and Greece must now defeat New Zealand in their Group F finale Thursday to advance to the second round.