Tall Blacks to face the "Greek Freak" in do or die match

By Mare Haimona-Riki

The Tall Blacks are set to face one of their biggest challenges in years, ahead of their ‘do or die’ match-up vs Greece tonight in the 3rd round of the 2019 FIBA World Cup in Nanjing, China.

Greece will definitely be playing with a chip on the shoulder tonight, following their one point loss to Brazil on Tuesday. This upset was a pleasant surprise to basketball enthusiast, Tall Blacks forward, Finn Delany, included. 

“It was an interesting result with Brazil getting up over Greece – not what a lot of people expected, but it just shows that anyone can win on the day,” says Delany

The obvious challenge for the Tall Blacks will be their strategy to contain the “Greek Freak” - Giannis Antetokounmpo. Standing at 6”11 with a 7”3 wingspan, the reigning NBA MVP averaged 27 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assist in the 2018-19 NBA season. 

Although Antetokounmpo hasn’t quite displayed MVP mode in his first two games of the tournament, assistant coach, Ross McMains is making the necessary plans to contain the Greek Forward. 

“Obviously head of the snake is Giannis with what he brings – just with his force, his athleticism, his speed in transition."

“The biggest thing for us,  like any game, is we have to embrace our way. We need to make sure this game is played on our terms, our style, and then we have to take in information that will help us combat some of the personnel that Greece presents,” says McMains

The Tall Blacks v Greece game will be live on Maori Television at midnight tonight (NZT).