Giannis Antetokounmpo Talks Bucks' 'Frustrating' 3-5 Record in NBA Seeding GamesAugust 15, 2020
Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo expressed frustration Saturday with the way the Milwaukee Bucks played in the regular-season seeding games inside the NBA bubble near Orlando, Florida.
After his team went just 3-5, Giannis gave his take on Milwaukee's performance to ESPN's Eric Woodyard:
"It wasn't frustrating because we were losing. Like, losing is part of basketball, losing is part of the game, but, obviously, what was frustrating because at times I think we wasn't ourselves. We wasn't moving the ball as much as I wanted to move the ball or as much as [coach Mike Budenholzer] wants us to move the ball. We wasn't defending as hard. As I said, there was times that we were ourselves, where we were the No. 1 team in the league on defense, but there were times that we showed that and there was times that we didn't."
Despite their poor record in the bubble, the Bucks finished as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the second consecutive season, as they went 56-17 overall in 2019-20.
Antetokounmpo noted he had an especially difficult time with sitting out the Bucks' final contest against the Memphis Grizzlies while serving a one-game suspension for head-butting Washington Wizards forward Moe Wagner:
"I think the most frustrating part for me was probably the Memphis game, sitting in the hotel and not being able to be out there to help my teammates compete and win a game and losing a lot of money. But, yeah, this is over. This is in the past. Now it's playoff time. I definitely don't believe in the turn-on switch that everybody talks about, like we can turn on the switch and be great, but I do believe that if everybody is on the same page and if everyone is focused and get together and watch clips and be on the same page and we know what our game plan is, I believe we can play way, way better."
Giannis hasn't been the issue for Milwaukee in the bubble, as he averaged 27.8 points and 12.2 rebounds per game after the restart. Overall, Antetokounmpo averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game on the season.
Those numbers might be good enough to make him the 12th player in NBA history to win back-to-back NBA MVP awards.
Last season, Giannis and the Bucks were favored to go all the way and represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals, but they fell to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals. Milwaukee is once again favored to win the East this year as the top seed.
The Raptors, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are all threats, although Toronto is without Kawhi Leonard this year, as he signed with the Los Angeles Clippers after leading Toronto to its first championship last season.
Antetokounmpo and the Bucks will look to get back on track Tuesday when they face the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.