Two nights after causing the Hornets all kinds of problems, Giannis Antetokounmpo was up to his old, er, new tricks in Cleveland on Friday night.
The Bucks ultimately didn't really need Giannis' scoring in their 96-80 road win over the LeBron-less Cavs -- though he finished with 14 points (5/11 fg, 1/3 three, 3/4 ft), half of them came late with the game already in hand, including his fourth triple of the season in the waning seconds. But Giannis had made his impact well before then, and in more ways than just scoring.
Once again seeing regular touches from the post on the left side, Giannis kept up his recent box score-stuffing habit by leading the Bucks in rebounds (8), assists (5) and blocks (3). No surprises there: He leads the Bucks in defensive rebound rate (20.3%), has blocked two or more shots in five straight games (2.4 bpg), and chalked up 5+ assists in three of his last six contests. With Jerryd Bayless out, we saw Giannis initiate sets from the top on a handful of occasions, but for the most part he was once again making plays out of the high post, where his ability to put the ball on the floor, work a pick-and-roll with Zaza Pachulia, or back smaller guys down for a short hook shot gives him plenty of options. That sort of playmaking versatility could prove especially critical now that Khris Middleton has worked his way back into the starting five, leaving Giannis and Brandon Knight -- for better or worse -- as the only starters comfortable putting it on the floor.
All in all, a good finish to 2014, and one that will do little to temper expectations going into 2015.