Much better...but still not quite good enough.
That was the net result on Thursday for both the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo, as not even a 25-point, 12-rebound effort from the Greek Freak could prevent the Bulls from scraping out a 113-106 double-overtime win in game three.
Not surprisingly, the key to Giannis' breakout first half was aggression. Early transition opportunities got Giannis off the mark in the first quarter, and from there he started scoring every other way as well. A gorgeous spin move and lefty finish in the post, then a savvy cut to set up a putback at the rim. Eventually we saw Giannis the jumpshooter as well, but not before he had hunted out numerous opportunities at the rim. By the half he had 17 points -- nearly matching the 18 combined from the first two games -- and it could have been more if not for another pair of misses at the rim and a buzzer-beating turnaround jumper that came just after the second quarter horn sounded.
He wasn't able to maintain quite the same momentum in the second half and overtime (4/10 fg, 8 pts), particularly in the overtime periods when the Bucks' offense began to bog down. But there were still some eye-catching plays on both ends, including a pair of huge blocks to stymie the Bulls at the rim. It wasn't quite enough to secure a huge win for the Bucks, but ESPN's Bradford Doolittle writes that the process is in many ways its own reward.
"First thing is the experience," Antetokounmpo said. "We never been here before. Playing these tough games, going to overtime, it gives us experience. You’ve just got to learn from mistakes and try to be better."