Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn't especially thrilled with the way his team played in seeding games in Orlando. The Bucks finished the regular season with a 56-17 record and clinched the first place od the Eastern Conference but they won only three and lost five games after the NBA season restarted in Orlando.
Antetokounmpo, a leading candidate for this year's MVP award, was suspended for the last seeding game against the Memphis Grizzlies after headbutting Washington Wizards' Moritz Wagner a game earlier. "It wasn't frustrating because we were losing.
Like, losing is part of basketball, losing is part of the game, but, obviously, what was frustrating because at times I think we wasn't ourselves," Antetokounmpo said, per ESPN. "We wasn't moving the ball as much as I wanted to move the ball or as much as [coach Mike Budenholzer] wants us to move the ball.
We wasn't defending as hard. As I said, there was times that we were ourselves, where we were the No. 1 team in the league on defense, but there were times that we showed that and there was times that we didn't. "I think the most frustrating part for me was probably the Memphis game, sitting in the hotel and not being able to be out there to help my teammates compete and win a game and losing a lot of money.
But, yeah, this is over. This is in the past. Now it's playoff time. I definitely don't believe in the turn-on switch that everybody talks about, like we can turn on the switch and be great, but I do believe that if everybody is on the same page and if everyone is focused and get together and watch clips and be on the same page and we know what our game plan is, I believe we can play way, way better."
Antetokounmpo insists his team must stay fully focused and locked in
The Bucks will face off against the Orlando Magic in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Bucks are the big favorite to make it past the Magic but their ambitions are much higher as they have made it clear their goal is to win this year's NBA title.
"I feel like my whole career, even this year, they haven't been paying a lot of attention to us, but at the end of the day, we're going to do what we do," Antetokounmpo said. "We're going to try to play good basketball, try to improve every day and focus on ourselves.
It doesn't really matter what's out there, if they have us as the favorites to win, if they don't talk about us, but I think at the end of the day all that matters is what we do, how we practice and how we get better, how we have fun and how we go out there and compete together. As long as we're doing that, we're going to be in a good place."