Giannis Antetokounmpo said the Bucks aren’t searching for their identity as some might think, they’re just trying different things on defense, adding that they could have done a lot of things last season, but weren’t trying them.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to a 129-125 victory over the Nets in Brooklyn with a 36-point performance. After the game he spoke to the media and denied that Milwaukee is looking, saying that the Bucks are just looking to find out what works and what doesn’t.
At the same time, he emphasized that in every game he feels better, while he focused on the appearance of Khris Middleton and how important he is for the Bucks.
Giannis stated in detail:
For the time he spent at center in the 4th quarter, being the Bucks’ only tall man on the floor: “I wasn’t thinking about being the only tall guy on the floor, just scoring. I was lucky enough on defense to get in the right spot and make some cuts.
On offense I gave the ball to Lillard and Middleton to create something. It was an important move by Coach Griffin. I think defensively we were able to switch screens, play good defense and everybody did a good job.
On whether he feels like every day he’s improving his chemistry with Lillard as a screener in pick-and-roll situations: “Definitely I feel more comfortable as time goes on and the body, my instincts take over and we have good and bad phases. For me it’s my 7th game after my injury. I’ll need time to feel comfortable. Today I was a little more comfortable, I went in my spots, Lillard and Middleton trusted me and I created some shots, put up a floater. Every game I’m getting more comfortable with him now.”
On how it felt to have Middleton on the court in the finale of the match: “It’s nice to have him in. It’s been a while since he’s played a lot of minutes, so some people forgot how good he is, especially at the end of games where he can make big shots. Just having him on the floor is great, it makes the game easier for me and the team.
“We’re a completely different team when he’s himself. We’re tough to deal with because we’ve got another scorer on the floor, we’ve got Lillard as both a threat and a shooter. He makes the game easier for everybody. We’re going to need him. to be great. To see him today play the way he did and feel comfortable making big shots made me proud because I know he’s going to have to do those things for us to be good.”.
On whether there is anything the Bucks can keep for the playoffs: “It’s too early. The playoffs are too far away. We’re 76 games away from the postseason. It’s too far. We just have to build good habits and get better defensively. I feel like we didn’t close spaces well, the Nets were able to play a lot of one-on-ones. one and get a foul I felt the defense needs to improve.
Offensively, the second five moved the ball well, played fast, made shots. At the end of the game, playing with Lillard, Middleton and two other shooters we were ready to close the game. We did a lot of good things and things we need to improve. It’s only Game 6, we’ve got 76 more games to get where we want to be.”
About how he felt about the defenses he put out at the end: “I felt good. When I’m focused I know I can affect the game defensively and I was able to do that today.”
On the fact that the Bucks have changed several defenses and whether that means the team is searching for its identity: “I don’t think we’re looking to find our identity. We’re just looking to find what works and what doesn’t.
We have to be good at everything. I think we play good drop defense with Lopez on the floor, we play good transitions when we lower our formation, sometimes we play zone and force our opponents to take difficult threes and get rebounds to run the court, especially when we are back to the score.
There’s a lot we can do that we didn’t do last year. Sometimes these will work, sometimes not, but it’s okay to try. Now we’re testing things and at some point we’ll figure out what we’re good at and we’ll do it, knowing that it will depend on the race situation. We can say if we are ahead with 20 points maybe we don’t need to play zone, but drop. If we’re down by 20 points maybe we’ll play zone to get them out of rhythm. We’ll see as we go.”
About what made him feel that his body is in better shape now: “I just feel better. I feel better about my weight, where I am on the floor. I feel stronger and the game is getting slower for me. It’s all part of finding a rhythm. I believe I have done it before and must do it again. I have to think about getting better every day. This motivates me and allows me to be good. From the 1st to the 6th match I improved. I hope the same is true from Game 6 to Game 12 and the team will continue to improve as well.”