NBA

Giannis Antetokounmpo backs Stephen Curry to come back strong for Warriors

By Sports Desk January 09, 2020

Giannis Antetokounmpo wished Stephen Curry well in his injury recovery and backed the Golden State Warriors to be an NBA force once again when their star man returns.

Antetokounmpo continued his phenomenal season with 30 points and 13 rebounds as the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks improved to 33-6 with a 107-98 win on their maiden outing at the Chase Center.

By contrast, the Warriors slumped to 9-30 in the ongoing absence of injured All-Stars Curry and Klay Thompson.

"It's weird. I've never seen this," Antetokounmpo told reporters when discussing the demise of a team that collected three NBA titles after being crowned Western Conference champions in each of the past five seasons.

"I've been in the league for seven years now and I've never seen a team go from being in an NBA Final to… not as good.

"Once they come back, they'll be right up there. The up and down is going to be crazy.

"I talked to Steph and wished him a fast recovery. He's going to be back, he's going to be helping his team win and doing what he did the previous years."

If the Bucks' record suggests they are the team primed for glory this time around, Antetokounmpo knows they must improve upon some uneven shooting displays.

After Tuesday's 126-104 loss at the San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee were forced to grind their way past the embattled Warriors.

"We found a way to win, a way to grind it out. In San Antonio we didn't do that," Antetokounmpo said.

"Obviously we can play way better basketball than we did tonight, but it's going to come.

"We've been playing great basketball, there are going to be days when it's not there. So long as you have a winning culture and it's all about how, at the end of the game, you can put yourselves in a position to win, that's good.

"We got the win, it's not pretty. Go back to the tape, see what we did right. We want to play the best we can play, but our main focus is to keep improving.

"Then when it matters the most – in April, May and June – all our habits that we did all season long, we can do it then."

Having the man with 32 double-doubles to his name already this season in their ranks, however, will do the Bucks no harm.

"He's such a threat at the rim, such a great playmaker and passer," Khris Middleton – who weighed in with 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists – said of Antetokounmpo.

"If you put him on top of the key or on the wing and he starts shooting those threes, you have to come up a little bit more on him. Now there's just more room."

Milwaukee are back in action at the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

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