NBA

Budenholzer hails 'huge' Giannis performance and admits to mistakes as Bucks narrowly evade Raptors

By Sports Desk January 05, 2023

Mike Budenholzer hailed Giannis Antetokounmpo for getting the Milwaukee Bucks over the line in a dramatic overtime win over the Toronto Raptors and admitted he would have handled the game differently in hindsight.

Just a day on from a career-high 55-point showing against the Washington Wizards, Antetokounmpo had a second triple-double of the season as his 30 points, 10 assists and 21 rebounds helped secure a 104-101 victory.

"I think Giannis, on a back-to-back, he used a lot of energy both last night, tonight," Budenholzer said. "They're very physical. For him to find a way to get us over the top was huge."

It should have been a more comfortable conclusion for the Bucks, who were leading by 21 points with 3:50 left on the clock in the fourth quarter. 

With 3:22 remaining, Budenholzer – mindful of the back-to-back games – opted to sub out each of his five starters.

Fred VanVleet's back-to-back threes saw Budenholzer send them back in but Toronto recovered from 11 points down with a little over 40 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.

"[There were a] couple of turnovers trying to inbound the ball against the press," Budenholzer said. "It felt like if we got the ball in we were able to get it across halfcourt and then we had a couple turnovers in the halfcourt that you just can't have that we've got to work on and improve.

"Definitely after, in hindsight, I would do it differently – I wouldn't take the guys out but, up 20, on a back-to-back, you hope that you can finish that out. 

"But a 6-0 run in a matter of 15, 20 seconds, that probably gave them the life to take it all the way down. So, it’s unfortunate and we'd like to be better, including myself."

Antetokounmpo was typically influential in overtime, driving down court and finding Grayson Allen to hit the game-winning three with a pin-point pass despite falling out of bounds.

"He was wide open," Antetokounmpo said. "I drove the ball, I saw VanVleet coming in from the corner and I was able to deliver the ball to Grayson and he caught it clean and I knew we had a chance when he caught it clean and shot the ball.

"It feels good. Obviously your body's tired and it's more mental than physical and just being able to go out there and get the job done back-to-back, it always feel good."

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