NBA

Antetokounmpo puts the blame on the players after Bucks lose to Pacers

By Sports Desk December 08, 2023

Giannis Antetokounmpo insists the players must shoulder the blame after the Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Indiana Pacers in the in-season tournament semi-finals.

The Pacers won 128-119 in Las Vegas to take their place in the final of the inaugural competition. Indiana will face the Los Angeles Lakers in that show-piece game.

Milwaukee were the favourites heading into Thursday's matchup, but Antetokounmpo criticised the team's lack of organisation.

However, he was adamant the players, not the coaches, must take responsibility.

"The talent level we have is incredible," said Antetokounmpo, who finished with a double-double of 37 points and 10 rebounds. "But we have to be more organised.

"I feel like sometimes we're not organised at all. We don't know what we try to get from our offense, or sometimes defensively we're not sprinting back.

"We don't shoot a lot of early 3s. At the end of the day, you have to protect the ball. You have to know where the ball is. We had a lot of situations today that they got a lot of dunks, open 3s, early 3s. We have to be better.

"Nobody is going to give you anything. Like sometimes I feel like we expect just because we have great players out there, that Tyrese Haliburton or Myles Turner or Aaron Nesmith, somebody is not just going to give us the game.

"We have to be better. We have to go out there and take it. You know at the end of the day, I think we are great players, but if we don't go out there and compete, they are not going to respect us. They played their best against us.

"The players play the game. We play the game, you know? Coaches can say whatever they want to say and put us in the position to be successful, and you hope that they do that for you. But you've got to make the plays.

"It's not the coaches' fault you don't sprint back. If you're not able to execute down the stretch and you turn the ball over and you throw it to your opponent's hands, it's not the coaches' fault. You just have to take that."

Bucks coach Adrian Griffin, though, said the onus is on him.

"I've got to do a better job of getting them into some certain sets down," he said. "But we put ourselves in a position [to win].

"The first half was rocky. We made some good adjustments, but we've got to close out in the fourth quarter, which we've done very well. We just couldn't pull it off tonight."

Related items

  • Hawks point guard Young to undergo surgery on left hand Hawks point guard Young to undergo surgery on left hand

    Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday to repair a tear of the radial collateral ligament in the fifth finger of his left hand. He will re-evaluated in four weeks.

    The team said Young sustained the injury in Friday's loss to the Toronto Raptors and an MRI on Saturday revealed a tear.

    It’s a devastating loss for the playoff-hopeful Hawks, who at 24-32 lead the Brooklyn Nets by three games for 10th place in the Eastern Conference and a berth in the NBA Play-In Tournament.

    Young leads Atlanta with 26.4 points per game (11th in the NBA) and ranks second in the league with 10.8 assists per contest.

    He was named an All-Star for the third time in his career this season and led the East with seven assists in a 211-186 win over the Western Conference last Sunday.

  • Timberwolves were 'desperate' for a win, claims Finch Timberwolves were 'desperate' for a win, claims Finch

    The Minnesota Timberwolves "needed a win desperately", according to head coach Chris Finch, whose team beat the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.

    Minnesota came out on top 101-86 to claim a fifth win in the space of six games, bouncing back from a defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks last time out.

    The Timberwolves are now clear at the top of the Western Conference with a 40-17 record, one win better than the 39-17 Oklahoma City Thunder.

    But coach Finch said his team "desperately" needed a victory.

    "We needed a win desperately," Finch said. "Still not playing really sharp basketball, particularly on the offensive end. But defensively, we were really strong."

    Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves with 29 points, while Karl-Anthony Towns added 28 to Milwaukee's total.

    "It was ugly, sloppy. I think by both teams, actually," said Timberwolves center Naz Reid.

    "But we [were] able to buckle down in the last quarter and handle business."

    The Nets dismissed coach Jacques Vaughn over the All-Star break, though are now 0-2 under interim Kevin Ollie.

    "I thought we did a great job coming together as a team and facing adversity," Ollie said. "But we've got to make shots."

  • 'We're not where we need to be yet' – Celtics out to improve despite season-best run 'We're not where we need to be yet' – Celtics out to improve despite season-best run

    Al Horford says the Boston Celtics are "not where we need to be yet" despite beating the New York Knicks to claim an eighth-straight win.

    The Celtics won 116-102 on Saturday to mark a season-best winning streak, while they are also eight games clear at the top of the Eastern Conference.

    Jaylen Brown finished with 30 points, Kristaps Porzingis had 22 and Jayson Tatum had 19, while Horford chipped in with 10 points from the bench, as Boston sealed their fourth win of the season over the Knicks.

    But in spite of their fine form, Horford says the Celtics must demand more from themselves.

    "It's just the way kind of the season has gone," he said.

    "We've kind of held our own, continued to work through things. Obviously, the [Philadelphia 76ers] have injuries, different teams have different stuff going on, so that all goes into account.

    "But I can just speak to we're continuing to play good basketball. We're really trying to play the right way. I feel like [Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla] is really challenging us to continue to get better. This is the stretch of the season where we can really take it to another level, and that's what we're trying to do.

    "I feel like we're not where we need to be yet, and that's a good thing."

    Mazzulla added: "The guys understand how to positively impact each other.

    "They understand how going into something at one point in the game is going to open it up for someone else later in the game. And we have different combinations, and the guys trust those combinations, and it puts us in a better position to win.

    "At the end of the day, it's about winning, and the guys are understanding that. They understand how they affect each other."

    Brown, however, pointed to the postseason as when the level of performance will truly count for the Celtics.

    He said: "When it comes down to the playoffs, none of that stuff really matters.

    "I feel like it's going to be about matchups, it's going to be about playing hard. Obviously, home court matters, so that is key, but when you get into the thick of it, you;'ve got to win basketball games. Regardless of what your seed is.

    "If anything, it puts more pressure on you. But I think we're an experienced team. We've been in these situations before and I think we're ready."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.