As an alternative of weaving via visitors for dunks and layups, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo needed to witness Milwaukee’s regular-season finale from a resort room contained in the NBA bubble whereas serving a one-game suspension.
For the second straight season, the NBA-best Bucks clinched the No. 1 seed within the East getting into the postseason with excessive expectations, however have been 3-5 within the Orlando bubble.
For Antetokounmpo, that did not sit effectively.
“It wasn’t irritating as a result of we have been dropping. Like, dropping is a part of basketball, dropping is a part of the sport, however, clearly, what was irritating as a result of at occasions I believe we wasn’t ourselves,” Antetokounmpo stated following Saturday’s apply. “We wasn’t shifting the ball as a lot as I wished to maneuver the ball or as a lot as [coach Mike Budenholzer] needs us to maneuver the ball. We wasn’t defending as arduous. As I stated, there was occasions that we have been ourselves, the place we have been the No. 1 group within the league on protection, however there have been occasions that we confirmed that and there was occasions that we did not.
“I believe probably the most irritating half for me was most likely the Memphis sport, sitting within the resort and never with the ability to be on the market to assist my teammates compete and win a sport and dropping some huge cash. However, yeah, that is over. That is up to now,” he continued. “Now it is playoff time. I undoubtedly do not imagine within the turn-on change that everyone talks about, like we will activate the change and be nice, however I do imagine that if everyone is on the identical web page and if everybody is targeted and get collectively and watch clips and be on the identical web page and we all know what our sport plan is, I imagine we will play manner, manner higher.”
Milwaukee will face Orlando within the opening spherical, with Recreation 1 set for 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Regardless of lacking the ultimate sport of the common season for headbutting Washington’s Moe Wagner, Antetokounmpo was named to the NBA All-Seeding video games Second Crew after averaging 27.eight factors and 12.2 rebounds throughout this restart.
The Bucks are additionally being given a 47% likelihood to win the 2019-20 NBA title, in response to ESPN’s Basketball Energy Index (BPI). The Los Angeles Lakers have the next-best likelihood at 15 p.c.
Nevertheless, in response to Caesars Sportsbook, the Lakers are the favorites at +200. The Bucks and Clippers are +300.
Antetokounmpo is limiting how a lot he consumes media or exterior chatter in an try and lock in on his aim of successful a championship. Milwaukee’s current struggles are definitely being famous, however the focus is now to appropriate them.
“I really feel like my complete profession, even this 12 months, they have not been paying plenty of consideration to us, however on the finish of the day, we’ll do what we do,” Antetokounmpo stated. “We will attempt to play good basketball, attempt to enhance each day and give attention to ourselves. It would not actually matter what’s on the market, if they’ve us because the favorites to win, if they do not discuss us, however I believe on the finish of the day all that issues is what we do, how we apply and the way we get higher, how we now have enjoyable and the way we go on the market and compete collectively. So long as we’re doing that, we’ll be in a superb place.”