Giannis on Bucks' Top Threat in East: The Biggest Challenge for Us Is Ourselves

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 7, 2020

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) moves in for a basket against the Miami Heat during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)
Kim Klement/Associated Press

The Milwaukee Bucks clinched the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed Thursday with a 130-116 win over the Miami Heat despite being down 17 points at halftime.  

After the game, reigning NBA MVP and Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo shared a few thoughts about his team's upcoming road to the Finals, per ESPN's Tim Bontemps:

"I think the biggest challenge for us is ourselves. How are we going to play? How hard are we going to play? Are we going to play for one another? Are we going to defend hard? Are we going to be able to rebound the ball? Are we going to be able to make the extra effort? Are we going to dive on the floor?

"It's all about us. It's all about us."

The 55-14 Bucks sport the league's best record after accomplishing the same feat with a 60-22 mark last season.

The Bucks cruised to the Eastern Conference Finals after beating the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics in the opening two rounds, but the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors upset the Bucks over six games in the conference finals.

This year is setting up similarly with the Bucks holding the No. 1 seed and the Raptors sitting at No. 2. Toronto has been on fire during the restart, going 3-0 and arguably looking like the best team at Disney World.

Milwaukee has been hit-or-miss inside the NBA bubble, going 2-2 thus far. One loss included a defeat to the short-handed Brooklyn Nets, who were without their top three scorers in Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert, among other players.

But Milwaukee has proven to be the league's most dominant team at its best. No outfit comes close to its 10.8-points-per-game differential for the season, and that's with the Bucks sometimes resting starters in the fourth quarter of blowouts.

Ultimately, Milwaukee should be the favorite to win the NBA title entering the postseason, but a host of talented teams will likely make its path difficult.