NBA Abu Dhabi: Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks promise a great show

The first-ever preseason in the region will be played at the Etihad Arena on Thursday



Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (left) talks to Saleh Al Geziry, Director General of Tourism at Department of Culture and Tourism, during a training session ahead of the NBA pre-season basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks in Abu Dhabi. — AP
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (left) talks to Saleh Al Geziry, Director General of Tourism at Department of Culture and Tourism, during a training session ahead of the NBA pre-season basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks in Abu Dhabi. — AP
by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Wed 5 Oct 2022, 5:33 PM

Last updated: Wed 5 Oct 2022, 10:53 PM

Top names of the 2021 champions Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks promise fans the time of their lives as the first-ever NBA pre-season games in the region will be played at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“Fans can expect a good game with a lot of intensity, excitement, a lot of 3s and a lot of dunks. And hopefully the Bucks win,” said the Bucks star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo after the practice session at the Arena on Yas Island.

Asked if there will be a 50-point game from him, he said: “Ah! This is the first game of the season. No way. But you never know though. Never say never.”

Serge Ibaka, the Bucks forward, underlined that it will be a night of “dunks after dunks” from Giannis.

“It will be a good game for the fans as both the teams get ready for the season.”

Clint Capela, the Hawks centre, noted that both the teams will “go all out and put on a good show” for the fans.

“This is going to be our first game and we all are excited about it. We know this (NBA Abu Dhabi Games) is really rare. So, this is very special for all of us. We are eager to show fans some NBA action. Come watch an NBA game. You don’t get to see it every day in the UAE. The time is now. You are going to have fun.”

Capela, who has been part of some NBA activities in the city, said that the experience so far has been great. “We don’t really get the chance to go overseas and spend time with fans around the globe. Most of the time we are in the US. So, being here is amazing.”

Nate McMillan, the Hawks coach, said the pre-season game against the defending champions will be a “good test” for his players.

“We haven’t had a game since last season. We have been in training camp for about 10 days now. We need to see a different opponent. Milwaukee is a really good team. They will work on their game and we will be able to test ourselves and work on our game. I expect both the teams to play hard and well. We will be playing with all our guys. It’s an opportunity we are looking forward to. We will learn from that game and prepare ourselves for game two (on Saturday).”

He underlined that the Games offers an opportunity for the NBA to make an impact in the UAE.

“We want to expose this country to our game and our athletes. We hope to be invited back to play again. We hope these games will have a huge impact here. We are honoured that the NBA selected us along with the Bucks to expose our game to this community, kids and country.”

Dejounte Murray, the Hawks point guard, said: “We’re going to come out and play hard. These games are really important for us. We want to get on the right track early.”

Mike Budenholzer, the Bucks coach, hopes to find fans smiling and enjoying their time, and also appreciate the beautiful game of players.

“Hopefully fans will see a team that plays with a lot of passion, a team that plays hard, that plays unselfishly. There’s probably nobody that plays with more passion than Giannis and I think that’s infectious.”

Bobby Portis, the Bucks forward, added that everyone was excited to let fans experience a slice of NBA.

“Sport brings everyone together, allows the next generation to experience the NBA and hopefully one day they will be in our shoes giving joy to the next generation after that.”

TODAY'S MATCH:

>> NBA preseason games in Abu Dhabi

>> Milwaukee Bucks vs Atlanta Hawks

>> Etihad Arena, 8 pm UAE Time


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