BOSTON – To efficiently defend their NBA championship, Milwaukee Bucks know they want a mixture of performances from robust gamers, well being and maybe a little bit of luck.
However the absence of entrance Khris Middleton main appearances throughout their Jap Convention semi-final sequence in opposition to Boston Celtics and finally too arduous to recover from as Milwaukee’s season ended with a 109-81 defeat in sport 7 on Sunday.
The Bucks failed to succeed in 100 factors in three of their seven video games (all shedding) and had been woefully behind from behind the 3-pointer line. Boston makes 53 extra 3-pointers than Milwaukee within the sequence, based on analysis by ESPN Stats & Info, by far the biggest hole in a single sequence in post-season NBA historical past.
“We may have used [Middleton]definitely may have used him, “guard Bucks Jrue’s Day converse. “He makes massive pictures and performs massive at each ends, however particularly in assault.”
No Middleton, who sprained the MCL in his left knee in Recreation 2 of their first-round match in opposition to Chicago BullsStar Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo tried their finest to get the group by way of the sequence.
Antetokounmpo averaged 33.9 factors, 14.7 rebounds and seven.1 assists within the sequence in opposition to the Celtics protection, the NBA’s No. 1 group in regular-season effectivity. He completed with a number of 40-pointers on this streak (three) because the Celtics surrendered all season. And Antetokounmpo turned the primary participant in league historical past to attain 200 factors, decide up 100 rebounds and make 50 assists in a single streak.
“The way in which Giannis developed by way of the sequence, the way in which Giannis performed in opposition to a group that defended very nicely in opposition to so many good particular person defenders was like a kind of moments of progress and alternative for progress,” the Bucks coach mentioned. Mike Budenholzer converse. “I feel he’s phenomenal – scoring, attacking, taking part in, altruistic.
“There’s all the time been a time or two the place we may have been higher, he may have been higher, however I’ll say because the film progresses I’m extremely impressed with him and the way he discovered easy methods to assault. , easy methods to rating, easy methods to play, easy methods to do all of that. We didn’t end it and he was an enormous a part of that, however I’m extraordinarily impressed with how he has progressed within the sequence. .”
Antetokounmpo began Sunday sizzling, going 6-10 at half-time with 17 factors earlier than he appeared drained whereas scuffling with the stress. He shot solely 4/16 within the second half with 8 factors because the Celtics equalized after halftime.
“The legs are heavy. The physique is heavy. The thoughts is heavy. All the things is heavy,” Antetokounmpo mentioned with a smile after the match. “I’m simply attempting to be aggressive. On the finish of the day, it’s sport 7 and I’m not going to carry the ball and I’m not trying on the touchline. I’d quite miss a bunch of pictures and preserve taking part in and preserve coming and going and going. aggressive. Hold on the lookout for my teammates and preserve making the precise performs, then go into passive mode. I can dwell with that.”
Antetokounmpo has shouldered a big portion of the scoring burden for Milwaukee in all sequence, turning into the primary participant to have 25 pictures in seven consecutive playoffs since. Allen Iverson in 2001, based on ESPN Stats & Info.
Nonetheless, after the sport, Antetokounmpo mentioned he loved taking part in on this sequence in opposition to Boston regardless of having to play briefly due to the hassle his group put into every sport.
“I don’t suppose I’ve escaped its physics,” says Antetokounmpo. “Like several sport. Adversity retains coming. That’s who I’m, that’s how I used to be constructed. … I really like that. It positively makes me a participant. You get higher with expertise.”
Ultimately, nevertheless, Antetokounmpo couldn’t do it on their lonesome, and the Bucks had too many clean performances from those that performed their roles. George Hill failed to attain a degree in 4 of the 5 video games he performed. Grayson Allen shoot 20.8% from 3. Bucks shoot solely 27.9% from 3 as a group. Along with Antetokounmpo and Vacation, Pat Connaughton is the one different Bucks participant to attain a double-digit common (10.3), regardless that Bobby Portis averaged 9.9 factors per sport within the sequence.
“Clearly we’re not attempting to make excuses,” Antetokounmpo mentioned. “I feel individuals went on the market to play and provides all the things they’d. That’s what we did from Recreation 3 in opposition to Chicago to Recreation 7 in opposition to Boston. If we had, [Middleton], perhaps will probably be one other story. However we didn’t. “