Giannis Antetokounmpo says he won't flop, vows to maintain physical approach

MILWAUKEE -- A patented mean-mug followed Giannis Antetokounmpo's driving dunk in the opening minutes of Milwaukee's 128-123 win over Boston on Thursday night.

Over the years, the Bucks star has built a reputation for powerful dunks, his physical style and his come-forward approach to attacking the rim.

Despite blowing a 27-point lead, the Bucks escaped to win their fifth straight game and the reigning MVP vowed to continue to play physically, even if the league is moving in a different direction.

"It's kind of hard because in the NBA, the way it's built, they want you to flop," Antetokounmpo said of playing physically. "It wants you to be weak, kind of, because sometimes I think when you're strong and you're going through contact, they don't call the foul. But when you're flopping and kind of going into the contact and throwing the ball out, they're just going to call foul, but that's not who I am, that's not what I'm gonna do.

"I'm just gonna try to power through contact. It's going to be ... where if a guy grabs me or pushes me, I've got to show it more, but I think I've done a better job of showing it more so the refs can see that the guys are holding me, pushing me and just being physical."

Antetokounmpo was called for a charge in the second half against Marcus Smart when the Celtics guard appeared to fall before the contact.

Antetokounmpo says he's noticing players trying to draw fouls by falling to the ground in front of him and feels it's "dangerous" for fear of rolling his ankle.

Antetokounmpo finished 32 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists, which marked his ninth game with at least 30 points and 15 boards. That's three times as many as any other player in the NBA this year, with Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns in second place after posting three games with such numbers, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

"I cannot be thinking about plays if I am going to get hurt. I think I am pretty good about avoiding situations that you can get hurt and avoiding guys on the floor," Antetokounmpo said. "If somebody is taking a charge, you have to step in the right place so you don't sprain your ankle, or for you not to step wrong and hurt your knee or something, but I think I'm pretty good with that. I know how to avoid contact. I was pretty skinny my whole career so I know how to avoid the contact.

"I just try to be aggressive and try to be in the moment and my instinct is going take over."