NBA

Giannis confident Bucks can stay locked in amid historic start

By Sports Desk December 03, 2019

Giannis Antetokounmpo has no doubt the Milwaukee Bucks can stay locked in and on top form amid a historic start to the NBA season.

The Bucks extended their winning run to 12 games - their best such streak since 1981-82 - by thrashing the New York Knicks 132-88 at Fiserv Forum on Monday, improving to an NBA-leading record of 18-3, which matched the franchise's best start.

Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo contributed 29 points, 15 rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes on the floor as the Knicks suffered a seventh straight loss.

Asked how the Bucks can maintain their mental edge during the run, Antetokounmpo said: "We've got to do our job. It starts with the coaching staff, it starts with the leader. When I come here, I'm not thinking about the 12 games we've won, I'm thinking, 'How can I do my job? How can I win tonight?' That's the most important thing.

"What we've done for 12 games, I know we're playing great basketball and everybody's having fun, but that's in the past. We've got to keep getting better, keep improving as a team, because we're trying to translate everything we're doing right now to the end of the year. We've got to keep takings steps forward.

"Everybody shows up every day and they're hungry. Nobody is relaxed. We show up, we do our job, we smile, we're having fun and it's nice. Usually teams tend to relax, but we don't do that."

Antetokounmpo claimed his 20th double-double in 21 appearances this season and believes he has made significant strides as a creative force for Milwaukee.

"I'm just trying to find my team-mates. I get a load of double-teaming, so that was a little bit frustrating because my pass was not as accurate, usually they're more accurate. It was something that I knew I had to do more going through the season," he added.

"I learned from the playoffs last season that I have to playmake the whole game. Mentally I was prepared enough for this season to do it more, and I think by doing that [you] definitely take a step forward, you get better. I think I've got a lot better in that aspect in my game."

Related items

  • Giannis on 'terrible' headbutt: I've done a great job taking hits, but today was the day! Giannis on 'terrible' headbutt: I've done a great job taking hits, but today was the day!

    Giannis Antetokounmpo expressed his regret after being ejected for headbutting Mo Wagner but added he had "done a great job all year and in my career" to ignore "dirty plays".

    The reigning NBA MVP left the Milwaukee Bucks' 126-113 win over the Washington Wizards in the second quarter following the incident with Wagner.

    Antetokounmpo had 12 points and nine rebounds in just 10 minutes before his frustration boiled over.

    The Greek was rueful afterwards, promised to learn from the clash and insisted there was no personal issue with Wagner, although he also took the opportunity to complain of the repeated rough treatment he feels he is dealt in the league.

    "It's a terrible action," he told reporters. "If I could turn back time and go back to that play, I wouldn't do it. But at the end of the day, we're all human, we all make mistakes.

    "I think I've done a great job all year and in my career, keeping my composure and focusing on the game. But like I say, we're all human, we all make mistakes.

    "I'll learn from it, keeping playing good basketball and keep moving forward.

    "I don't think I was frustrated with Wagner. I think it was just the whole build-up of dirty plays in my mind, guys tripping me, guys falling in front of my feet, holding me, hitting me.

    "I have nothing against Wagner - it wasn't just him. Just in my mind, in all the games I've played, there's guys hitting me. I lost it for a second.

    "Like I said, if I could go back, I'd change it so I could stay in the game. I've got to live with it. It's a bad mistake from me, I'll learn from it.

    "I'm glad we were able to play good basketball, I'm happy we were having fun and were able to win the game. We've got to keep getting ready for the playoffs."

    Suggesting such an episode had been coming for some time, Antetokounmpo said he would work to ensure there was no repeat.

    "Usually I try to just stay focused, finish the game, don't do something stupid," he said.

    "But there's always times when you're in the zone and you don't think. It might take a second or two, you don't think and you do something dumb.

    "My whole career I've had great team-mates around me, great coaching staff, and I think I've done a great job being locked in, not feeling much from what the other team's game plan is, what they're trying to accomplish from hitting me.

    "But, man, today was the day. Hopefully it's the last one. I know the hits are going to keep coming."

    Asked what his team-mates had told him, Antetokounmpo said: "They told me to learn from it, that they need me on the floor, they need me out there playing good basketball.

    "I've got to be a leader. I've got to learn from this. I'm happy now, but this could happen in the playoffs, it could happen in a big game.

    "They're 100 per cent right. It's my fault, fellas. They're 100 per cent right. But they know me, they know I've done a great job keeping my composure.

    "They said, 'okay, it's acceptable, it's human for Giannis to lose it for a second once'. But they told me I've got to learn from it, they're 100 per cent right, and hopefully it doesn't repeat itself in the future."

  • Lillard honoured to join Chamberlain after 61-point performance Lillard honoured to join Chamberlain after 61-point performance

    Damian Lillard was proud to join illustrious company after his 61-point performance for the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday.

    The guard starred as he went nine-of-17 from three-point range in a 134-131 win over the Dallas Mavericks that lifted Portland into eighth in the Western Conference.

    He became just the second player to have three 60-plus point games in a single season, joining the great Wilt Chamberlain.

    Lillard, 30, was delighted to join Chamberlain on that mark after his incredible performance.

    "First of all, I'm happy to be in that type of company, that's an honour," he told reporters.

    "I'm also happy that two of the three came in a winning effort and tonight couldn't have been better timing for that type of game.

    "It's a pleasure and an honour to be in company with Wilt and hopefully it can continue."

    After leading the Trail Blazers to victory, Lillard screamed out: "Put some respect on my f****** name."

    Lillard, who is averaging 29.8 points, eight assists and 4.3 rebounds this season, said that was a message to his critics.

    "There was just a bunch of people on that opposite side, that press row area, those are the people who usually have something to say or put out whatever they put out so it was just in that direction," he said.

  • Lillard hits 61 points in Trail Blazers' win, Giannis ejected Lillard hits 61 points in Trail Blazers' win, Giannis ejected

    Damian Lillard produced an incredible performance to lift the Portland Trail Blazers, while Giannis Antetokounmpo was ejected in the NBA on Tuesday.

    Lillard scored 61 points to guide the Trail Blazers past the Dallas Mavericks 134-131 and into eighth place in the Western Conference.

    The guard was in stunning form, going nine-of-17 from three-point range at the Walt Disney World Resort.

    Carmelo Anthony (26 points) provided some support for Lillard as Portland boosted their playoff chances.

    Kristaps Porzingis scored 36 points for the Mavericks, while Luka Doncic had a double-double of 25 points and 10 assists.

    Antetokounmpo was ejected in the second quarter of the Bucks' 126-113 win over the Washington Wizards.

    The reigning NBA MVP head-butted Moritz Wagner, having scored 12 points and had nine rebounds in 10 minutes.

    Brook Lopez finished with 24 points for the Bucks.

     

    Booker leads in-form Suns, Tatum shines

    Devin Booker had 35 points and nine rebounds as the Phoenix Suns beat the Philadelphia 76ers 130-117 for a seventh straight win.

    Jayson Tatum helped the Boston Celtics past the Memphis Grizzlies 122-107 thanks to 29 points.

    In the same game, Ja Morant had 26 points and 13 assists for the Grizzlies.

    Harrison Barnes' 25 points and eight rebounds helped the Sacramento Kings edge the New Orleans Pelicans 112-106.

     

    Awful Augustin

    D.J. Augustin struggled from the field, going one-of-eight for just six points in the Orlando Magic's 108-96 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

     

    Amazing Lillard

    Lillard had his third game this season with 60-plus points and five-plus assists and no player has had more than two such games in their career since the merger, according to STATS.

    Tuesday's results

    Brooklyn Nets 108-96 Orlando Magic
    San Antonio Spurs 123-105 Houston Rockets
    Phoenix Suns 130-117 Philadelphia 76ers
    Boston Celtics 122-107 Memphis Grizzlies
    Portland Trail Blazers 134-131 Dallas Mavericks
    Sacramento Kings 112-106 New Orleans Pelicans
    Milwaukee Bucks 126-113 Washington Wizards

     

    Clippers face Nuggets

    Coming off a loss to the Nets, the Los Angeles Clippers (47-23) take on the Denver Nuggets (46-25) on Wednesday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.