NBA

'I wish we were being guarded that way' – Giannis slams Bucks' defending after defeat to Magic

By Sports Desk November 12, 2023

Giannis Antetokounmpo hit out at the Milwaukee Bucks' defensive efforts after they slipped to back-to-back defeats on Saturday, going down 112-97 on the road against the Orlando Magic.

The Bucks were viewed as one of the pre-season favourites in the Eastern Conference after their blockbuster trade for point guard Damian Lillard.

However, with Lillard missing Milwaukee's last two games with a sore calf, successive defeats on the road against the Indiana Pacers and Orlando have seen them slip to 5-4 for the season. 

Having recorded 54 points in vain against Indiana, Antetokounmpo finished Saturday's defeat with 35 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and the teams' defensive shortcomings left the two-time NBA MVP frustrated.

"I think the individual pride is there," Antetokounmpo said on Saturday. "The team defense is not there. 

"We're not helping each other as much as we should. The gaps are so… I feel like the gaps are wide open. 

"I feel like guys feel comfortable to be able to come down, attack, go downhill, get an angle, make a play for themselves or for their team-mate. Like, I wish we were being guarded that way!

"We have to take it up a notch. This is not who we are. This is not the Milwaukee Bucks. We've got to guard people and it starts with me. 

"It starts with the leader of the team. I've got to be better. But again, it's not one person that can do it alone. Defensively, we've got to show more.

"Sometimes you have to put your body on the line, take that hit, to make it easier for our defense. The last two games, we haven't done it.

"Right now, I feel like we're just being stagnant. We're going back on defense and not showing a lot of help. 

"We're not protecting one another as much as we should and sometimes when we turn the ball over, we sit and complain. We've got to get out of that mentality and stop feeling sorry for ourselves."

Milwaukee return to action on Monday as the Chicago Bulls visit Fiserv Forum.

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