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Bucks’ up-and-down season reaching low point just before the playoffs



Bucks' up-and-down season reaching low point just before the playoffs

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks’ curler coaster season has hit its nadir with the playoffs lower than two weeks away.

The Bucks have misplaced 4 straight video games and 6 of their previous seven. They’re 15-17 underneath coach Doc Rivers after going 32-14 earlier than his arrival.

Though Milwaukee (47-31) has a one-game lead over the Orlando Magic (46-32) and New York Knicks (46-32) within the race for the No. 2 seed within the Jap Convention playoffs behind the Boston Celtics, the Bucks might be dealing with one other early exit in the event that they don’t flip issues round.

“Undoubtedly not a great feeling,” two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo mentioned Sunday after the Bucks’ 122-109 loss to the New York Knicks. “Form of the surroundings on the staff doesn’t really feel proper.”

Antetokounmpo then went into extra element concerning his remark in regards to the surroundings.

“Whenever you lose video games, you don’t really feel good,” he mentioned. “You’re not completely satisfied. In case you return residence, you can not sit down and watch Amazon Prime and be relaxed and revel in your steak (or) some guys who drink, drink your wine or beer or no matter they drink. Or in my case, do my Legos. When I attempt to put my Legos in place, I’m extra annoyed and I’m hurting my fingers and stuff. That’s what I imply by the surroundings not feeling good.

“We’re not a dropping staff. We don’t have that mentality. That’s not in us.”

The Bucks have been via loads of upheaval ever since they’d the league’s greatest regular-season report final yr, however misplaced to the Miami Warmth within the first spherical of the playoffs.

They fired coach Mike Budenholzer and bought star guard Damian Lillard. Budenholzer was changed by Adrian Griffin, who acquired dismissed halfway via the season regardless of having a 30-13 report. Joe Prunty went 2-1 as an interim head coach earlier than Rivers got here aboard.

The teaching change was a sign the Bucks weren’t glad with their struggles on protection and uncomfortably shut wins over dropping groups throughout Griffin’s temporary tenure. However the inconsistency has continued underneath Rivers.

The Bucks misplaced seven of Rivers’ first 10 video games. They received six straight after the All-Star break. Now they’re slumping once more.

“These are the moments the place you discover out who’s an actual one and who’s not, as a result of all people’s going to be saying unfavourable stuff, how improper it’s and the way unhealthy it’s,” Lillard mentioned. “You may fold or not fold. That’s what we’re going to study ourselves going into the playoffs, based mostly on the expertise we’re having proper now.”

Any comparability of the data underneath Griffin and Rivers ought to point out the extenuating circumstances.

Milwaukee’s schedule acquired considerably more durable after the teaching change. Sunday’s loss to the Knicks marked simply the fourth time up to now 29 video games that Antetokounmpo, Lillard and three-time All-Star Khris Middleton have been all out there, and Middleton left after getting hit within the mouth halfway via the second quarter. These three gamers have been collectively for about two-thirds of the pre-Rivers video games, although Middleton was on a minutes restriction for a lot of of them.

However even with out all of their prime gamers, the Bucks have way more expertise than the Washington Wizards, Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors. All three of these groups have crushed the Bucks over the previous week.

“This staff is simply too gifted, for my part, to undergo this, regardless of who’s been out and in,” Rivers mentioned. “Each staff has guys out. I’ve acquired to determine that out.”

Reserve guard Pat Connaughton mentioned after the loss to the Raptors that the Bucks wanted to play with extra pleasure. Antetokounmpo agreed with that evaluation Sunday.

“It’s virtually like we’re going via the motions,” Antetokounmpo mentioned. “We’ve acquired to seek out that pleasure again. To ensure that us to seek out that pleasure again, we’ve acquired to maneuver the ball. … When all people touches the ball, all people has that vitality.”

The Bucks don’t have a lot time to seek out it earlier than the postseason. Milwaukee has simply 4 regular-season video games left, and all are towards playoff-bound groups. They host Boston on Tuesday and Orlando on Wednesday earlier than visiting Oklahoma Metropolis on Friday and Orlando on Sunday.

The Bucks are assured they’ll nonetheless flip it round due to how effectively they’ve performed after they’re at their greatest. The Bucks blew out Oklahoma Metropolis 118-93 simply earlier than the beginning of this tailspin.

“Everyone simply stored each other accountable (towards the Thunder),” Antetokounmpo mentioned. “I feel typically we simply don’t. We simply decide and select. However the perception is there. The assumption is there. However we’ve acquired to get higher. All through these 4 video games, 5 video games left, we’ve acquired to construct good habits. We’ve acquired to observe movie. We’ve acquired to spend time collectively. As a result of if we don’t, we’re most likely going to be in bother.”



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