Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard expressed their surprise at the firing of Bucks coach Adrian Griffin after Milwaukee won its first game since the decision.

There was a third triple-double in four games for Giannis as Milwaukee ended the Cleveland Cavaliers’ eight-game winning streak on Wednesday with a 126-116 home victory.

Antetokounmpo had 35 points, a season high-tying 18 rebounds and 10 assists for his seventh triple-double this season. He came up one assist shy of having four consecutive triple-doubles after he had 31 points, 10 boards and nine assists in Saturday’s win at Detroit.

Joe Prunty served as Milwaukee’s interim head coach after Griffin was fired on Tuesday despite the Bucks leading the Central Division with a 30-13 record, putting them second in the Eastern Conference. The team was finalising negotiations with Doc Rivers to take over.

Lillard added 28 points and Khris Middleton had 24 for the Bucks, winners of six in seven, as Cleveland lost despite Donovan Mitchell scoring 23 points and Jarrett Allen having 21 and 12 assists.

Two-time MVP Giannis was not expecting the decision to fire first-year coach Griffin, but stressed he trusted the front office.

"Their job is to create the best team possible and the best atmosphere around the team possible that they believe gives us a better chance to win a championship," Giannis said to ESPN. 

"But yeah, I do think [firing coach Griffin] was a surprise.

"I've got to trust the front office, I've got to trust the ownership group that they consider the bigger picture. My job is to be the best version of myself, to lead this team out there and help win games."

Giannis had expressed concerns over the Bucks’ performances this season but stressed he had no personal issues with Griffin.

"I loved the guy, I invited him to my wedding," Antetokounmpo said. ""I was coached by him and we did very, very, very well.

"When somebody is being hired, the GM might come and ask, 'What do you think about that? What do you think about this?' or whatever and not just me – players and people that he trusts their advice. 

"But at times they make it seem like it's the players that are making the decision.

"For a coach like Griff, from Day 1, everything was about togetherness. He was always leading this group into the direction we set at the beginning of the year. 

"Him not being here, at the end of the day, we’re humans. It hurts everybody. But we’ve got to keep on moving forward. We have a goal in our head, which is to be the best basketball team that we can be."

Lillard had a similar view to Giannis that the news was unexpected, though has agreed the Bucks could be playing better.

"There's been a lot of expectations on our team," he said. "Things have been expected to look a certain way. We've had a bumpy road to our success, which is sometimes a part of the process. 

"I was surprised. But it's part of the game. People get traded, people get waived, people get fired, and that's never something you want to see."

The Bucks never trailed in a win which avenged their 40-point loss in Cleveland last week and the teams will play again on Friday.

"Our experience really worked in our favor in this situation,” added Lillard. "We have all experienced a lot of things.

"I think this was different for everybody, but we just understood we had a game tonight, and it was going to be a tough game against a really good team that kind of handled us the last time we played them."

Doc Rivers has agreed to become the next head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Wednesday.

The report comes one day after the Bucks surprisingly fired first-year head coach Adrian Griffin with Milwaukee sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 30-13 record.

Rivers has been serving as an analyst for ESPN after being fired by the Philadelphia 76ers last May.

Rivers ranks ninth all-time in NBA history with 1,097 coaching victories in the regular season and fourth with 111 play-off wins.

He led the Boston Celtics to the NBA title in 2008 and back to the Finals in 2010.

The Bucks fired Mike Budenholzer last offseason after a first-round play-off exit and turned to Griffin, who had been an assistant coach in the NBA since 2008.

Milwaukee, though, has been criticised for its lacklustre defence this season.

The Bucks are allowing 120.5 points per game after giving up 113.3 points a contest in 2022-23. That decline of 7.2 points per game is the second largest in the league this season.

The Milwaukee Bucks have fired first-year head coach Adrian Griffin, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday.

ESPN analyst and veteran NBA coach Doc Rivers has emerged as Milwaukee's primary target as Griffin’s replacement, according to multiple reports.

Assistant Joe Prunty is expected to be the team’s interim coach until a permanent hire is made.

The stunning move comes after Monday’s 122-113 win over the Detroit Pistons. The Bucks have won five of their last six and currently sit in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 30-13 record.

Despite the team’s solid record, the Bucks have been criticised for their lacklustre defence this season.

Milwaukee is allowing 120.5 points per game this season after giving up 113.3 per game last season. That decline of 7.2 points per game is the second largest in the league this season.

Despite winning both games, the Bucks surrendered 135 and 113 points in consecutive contests against the lowly Pistons.

Another coaching change is just the latest in a busy stretch for the 2021 NBA champions. The Bucks fired Mike Budenholzer last offseason after a first-round play-off exit. Milwaukee was able to keep Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton in free agency, then swung a blockbuster trade that replaced Jrue Holiday with Damian Lillard.

In October, franchise centrepiece Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a three-year maximum contract extension, pausing speculation about his long-term future in Milwaukee.

The onus now falls on general manager Jon Horst to find a coach who will tighten up the Bucks’ defence and maximise the pairing of Antetokounmpo and Lillard.

Milwaukee’s pool of candidates reportedly centres around accomplished coaches with winning pedigrees, with Rivers topping the list.

Rivers, who joined ESPN last summer after being fired by the Philadelphia 76ers, has 1,097 career wins as a head coach and a .590 record. Rivers coached the 2007-08 Boston Celtics to a championship and reached the Finals again in 2010.




The Milwaukee Bucks are finalising a deal to make Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin the franchise’s next head coach, multiple media outlets reported on Saturday.

He will replace Mike Budenholzer after his five-year stint in Milwaukee ended with the top-seeded Bucks losing to the Miami Heat 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs.

Griffin, who spent the last four seasons as an assistant in Toronto, takes over a team that finished the season with an NBA-best 58-24 record and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

According to ESPN, Bucks talisman Giannis Antetokounmpo met with each of the three finalists – Griffin, former Raptors head coach Nick Nurse and Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson – before general manager Jon Horst made his final decision.

Griffin began his coaching career in Milwaukee, where he was an assistant under Scott Skiles from 2008-10. He was also an assistant with the Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder before joining the Raptors' staff.

The 48-year-old won an NBA title in 2019 with the Raptors after Toronto eliminated Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference finals.

Griffin played for five franchises during his nine-year career on the court and was a part of the Dallas Mavericks' run to the Finals in 2006.

Replacing Budenholzer with Griffin is likely just the first move in a key offseason for the Bucks.

Antetokounmpo has two years left on his deal but will be eligible for a contract extension in September.

Brook Lopez is a free agent, and Khris Middleton could also test the market if he declines his $40.4 million player option for next season.

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