NBA

Giannis hails Rivers' 'high standards' as Bucks get into their groove

By Sports Desk February 13, 2024

Giannis Antetokounmpo lauded Doc Rivers for bringing "high standards" to the Milwaukee Bucks after Monday's big win over the Denver Nuggets.

The Bucks ran out 112-95 winners over the reigning NBA champions, with Giannis finishing with a double-double of 36 points and 18 rebounds.

Milwaukee have won their last two games, after a three-game losing spin, and sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 35-19 record ahead of Tuesday's meeting with the Miami Heat.

While Rivers has not had the easiest of starts in charge since he replaced Adrian Griffin, the Bucks have now held successive opponents to under 100 points for the first time since 2021.

And Giannis credited the former Philadelphia 76ers coach for setting the standards high since his arrival.

"Guys are just being on the same page," Giannis said.

"Coach Doc is holding us to a high standard. He wants us to defend.

"He doesn't take lack of effort as an excuse. If you're on the floor, you've got to do your best."

The defensive organisation was particularly pleasing for Rivers.

"Just steady progress," he said. "Believing in your defense, trusting it, clarifying it, what we want to do.

"The more we can get our guys to know exactly what we're doing, they can play at full speed. That's what we're trying to do. Simplify, so we can play with fire."

Damian Lillard added: "I just think it's the accountability. When we're watching film, we're in our meetings, in practice, I think Doc and our entire staff, they're doing a great job of just calling everything out.

"They're challenging us in a lot of different ways. Our communication, how physical we are, how we carry ourselves as a group.

"Trying to find our identity. Who do we want to be? Who are we going to step like when we get on the floor? And I think we're just having a lot of carryover because there's so much conversation around it."

Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Denver sit fourth in the West.

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