NBA

NBA playoffs 2021: Bucks star Giannis refusing to give up after brutal loss to Nets

By Sports Desk June 08, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo is continuing to believe, despite the Milwaukee Bucks falling into a 2-0 hole following a demoralising defeat to the Brooklyn Nets in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Antetokounmpo and the Bucks were no match for the star-studded and James Harden-less Nets, who showed no mercy in a devastating 125-86 victory in the NBA playoffs on Monday.

The third-seeded Bucks trailed by as much as 49 points in a forgettable game in Brooklyn, where two-time reigning MVP Antetokounmpo finished with 18 points on eight-for-15 shooting and 11 rebounds.

Antetokounmpo and the bruised Bucks will return to Milwaukee for Game 3 on Thursday, but their superstar remains upbeat in pursuit of the franchise's first championship since 1971.

"It's easy," Antetokounmpo replied when asked how he could prevent his team-mates from losing confidence. "That's what I do.

"I don't get too high, I don't get too low. After the Miami series, we were up 4-0, and coming to this series, I wasn't high.

"Now that we're down 2-0, I'm not low. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing, keep trusting my work, keep trusting my team-mates, keep believing in the team, keep believing in the habits we've built all year, and hopefully in Game 3 we get a win."

The Bucks were easily beaten by the Miami Heat in the second round of last season's playoffs, while Milwaukee are yet to progress beyond the Eastern Conference semi-finals (2019, 2001, 1986, 1984, 1983) since 1973-74.

"It's an opportunity," Antetokounmpo said. "At the end of the day, we have to take care of business, and take it a game at a time. I do not want to hear we got to win two at home.

"We got to win one at home. We've got to win the first game. We've got to get Game 3 and try to give everything we can to get that one, and then Game 4 try to do the same thing. But we have to focus on Game 3 right now."

Related items

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 'excited to see' LeBron James potentially break his NBA record Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 'excited to see' LeBron James potentially break his NBA record

    LeBron James and the possibility of the Los Angeles Lakers superstar becoming the NBA's all-time scoring leader excites current recordholder Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    Abdul-Jabbar sits atop the throne for most points in the NBA with 38,387 following a Hall of Fame career that featured six championships, six MVP awards and 19 All-Star selections among other honours during his time with the Milwaukee Bucks and Lakers.

    James (35,367) is third on the all-time list entering his 19th season, behind Karl Malone (36,928) and Abdul-Jabbar – the four-time champion and four-time MVP still needs 3,020 points to break the record.

    Abdul-Jabbar, who spent 14 years with the Lakers from 1975 to 1989 before returning as an assistant coach between 2005 and 2011, was asked about James' pursuit of history.

    "I'm excited to see it happen," Abdul-Jabbar, 74, told Marc Stein in his substack newsletter. "I don't see records as personal accomplishments, but more as human achievements.

    "If one person can do something that's never been done, that means we all have a shot at doing it. It's a source of hope and inspiration.

    "Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile back in 1954. Since then, not only have 1,400 runners beaten that time, but the new record is 17 seconds less.

    "We all win when a record is broken and if LeBron breaks mine, I will be right there to cheer him on."

    James and the Lakers were unable to defend their NBA title in 2020-21 as they crashed out in the first round of the playoffs.

    The 36-year-old James averaged 25.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game last season.

    James' field-goal (51.3) and three-point (36.5) percentages were his best since 2017-18.

  • Nuggets' Gordon lands four-year, $92m contract extension Nuggets' Gordon lands four-year, $92m contract extension

    Denver Nuggets star Aaron Gordon has agreed a four-year, $92million contract extension with the NBA franchise.

    Gordon's agent Calvin Andrews confirmed the lucrative new deal to the Undefeated on Tuesday.

    The contract reportedly includes a player option for the fourth year in 2025-26, with the Nuggets already locking up MVP Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray to new contracts.

    Gordon arrived in Denver in March after being dealt to the Nuggets from the struggling Orlando Magic.

    The 25-year-old forward averaged 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists overall last season, spread across 25 games with the Nuggets and 25 for the Magic.

    Gordon's 46.3 field-goal percentage was his best since the 2015-16 campaign.

    In the playoffs, Gordon averaged 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds as the Nuggets were eventually swept by the Phoenix Suns in the second round.

  • USA sign off with wheelchair basketball gold as Tokyo Paralympics comes to an end USA sign off with wheelchair basketball gold as Tokyo Paralympics comes to an end

    Team USA won a stunning Paralympics men's wheelchair basketball gold medal on the final day of Tokyo 2020, providing a sting in the tail to the tournament's "Cinderella story".

    Steve Serio scored 28 points and added nine assists as the United States beat hosts Japan 64-60 at the Ariake Arena, overcoming a 56-51 deficit with a large surge.

    It was an agonising end to a stunning run from Japan, who had beaten Australia and Great Britain on the way to the final, their first at Paralympics level.

    For the Americans, it means they have won men's wheelchair basketball gold medals at seven editions of the Paralympics.

    Serio said: "Japan was the Cinderella story of this tournament, but you couldn't ask for a more storybook ending for us. We didn't get the start we wanted, but we definitely got the finish we wanted."

    Japan's silver was their first medal in men's wheelchair basketball, with Hiroaki Kozai leading them with 18 points and Renshi Chokai adding eight points and a remarkable 18 rebounds.

    Matt Scott, part of that triumphant basketball team, then carried the US flag at the closing ceremony, as Tokyo's tenure as hosts of the Olympics and Paralympics came to an end.

    Amid the strain of staging a global event during the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan pulled off the feat and handed the baton to Paris for the 2024 Games, signing off with a ceremony that was highlighted by nods to karaoke and video game culture and included a moving rendition of the Louis Armstrong classic What A Wonderful World.

    China finished top of the medals table, with 96 golds in a total of 207 medals, with Great Britain second with 41 golds among 124 medals, and the USA third, landing 37 golds and 104 medals in all.

    Hosts Japan ranked 11th, with 13 gold medals, 15 silver and 23 bronze, for a total of 51 medals.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.