Hawks appear to have a couple of Giannis stoppers

Onyeka Okongwu

The Hawks handed the Bucks another first last night. A week ago, Atlanta became the first team to beat Milwaukee at all, and yesterday, they became the first team to beat them at home.

It was a total team effort from the Hawks, as all five starters had at least 16 points. De’Andre Hunter led the way with 24 points, ten of which came from the free-throw line, a career-high. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray each did their thing, but the highlight of the night was Atlanta’s pair of centers, which have proven to be some of the best at slowing down Giannis Antetokounmpo.

There’s no completely stopping Giannis. He will get 25+ points a night no matter what, but the Hawks have shown over their last two meetings with the Bucks that Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu are some of the best at making it difficult for Giannis the entire game. On the season, he’s averaging a career-high 31.3 points on 52.3% from the field, to go along with 11.8 rebounds. Last night, Giannis finished with just 27 points on 8-21 shooting with eight rebounds, all well below his season averages. And in the meeting before that, he finished with 25 points on 9-20 from the field and seven rebounds.

On the season, the Bucks have only lost twice when Giannis was active, both of which came at the hands of the Hawks. Coincidence? Potentially, but if you were to make two players in a lab that could slow down The Greek Freak, they would probably look a lot like Capela and Okongwu. They are big enough to create problems for him at the rim and quick enough to stay in front of him as he attempts to bulldoze his way into the paint. I’m not sure there is a better combination of players to throw at him for 48 minutes, which is why the Hawks have had some success against the Bucks this season. Considering the road to the NBA Finals likely goes through Milwaukee, it’s a nice thing to have in your back pocket.

Photographer: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire

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