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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 going through one other early exit in the event that they don’t flip issues round.

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

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

“Whenever you lose video games, you don’t really feel good,” he mentioned. “You’re not completely happy. In case you return dwelling, you can’t 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 pissed off and I’m hurting my fingers and stuff. That’s what I imply by the setting not feeling good.

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

The Bucks have been by means of loads of upheaval ever since they’d the league’s finest regular-season report final 12 months, however misplaced to the Miami Warmth within the first spherical of the playoffs.

They fired coach Mike Budenholzer and purchased star guard Damian Lillard. Budenholzer was changed by Adrian Griffin, who bought dismissed halfway by means of 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 happy 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 gained 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 everyone’s going to be saying detrimental stuff, how improper it’s and the way dangerous it’s,” Lillard mentioned. “You may fold or not fold. That’s what we’re going to find out about 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 bought considerably more durable after the teaching change. Sunday’s loss to the Knicks marked simply the fourth time previously 29 video games that Antetokounmpo, Lillard and three-time All-Star Khris Middleton have been all obtainable, and Middleton left after getting hit within the mouth halfway by means of 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 high gamers, the Bucks have way more expertise than the Washington Wizards, Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors. All three of these groups have overwhelmed the Bucks over the previous week.

“This staff is just too proficient, in my view, to undergo this, irrespective of who’s been out and in,” Rivers mentioned. “Each staff has guys out. I’ve bought 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 nearly like we’re going by means of the motions,” Antetokounmpo mentioned. “We’ve bought to search out that pleasure again. To ensure that us to search out that pleasure again, we’ve bought to maneuver the ball. … When everyone touches the ball, everyone has that vitality.”

The Bucks don’t have a lot time to search 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 will nonetheless flip it round due to how nicely they’ve performed once they’re at their finest. The Bucks blew out Oklahoma Metropolis 118-93 simply earlier than the beginning of this tailspin.

“All people simply stored each other accountable (towards the Thunder),” Antetokounmpo mentioned. “I believe typically we simply don’t. We simply decide and select. However the perception is there. The assumption is there. However we’ve bought to get higher. All through these 4 video games, 5 video games left, we’ve bought to construct good habits. We’ve bought to observe movie. We’ve bought 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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