NBA

NBA playoffs 2021: Giannis wants Bucks to 'keep getting better' after sweep of Heat

By Sports Desk May 29, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo knows the Milwaukee Bucks can beat the teams a variety of ways, and they had to take the hard road Saturday. 

The Miami Heat held the Bucks' top two scorers without a field goal in the first quarter of Game 4, but Milwaukee pushed through that early adversity and prevailed 120-103 to sweep the first-round NBA playoff series. 

Khris Middleton finally got on the board early in the second quarter and the Greek star went without a basket from the field until a dunk with one minute to play in the second quarter, but Antetokounmpo said his team never lost patience even when their shots failed to fall. 

"At the end of the day, nothing's going to be easy. It's a game that's win or go home for them," he said.

"Obviously they're going to play extremely hard, they're going to try to be physical, they're going to try to get us out of our spots.

"But at the end of the day, as players you're going to have games that you're going to come, you're going to score the ball right off the bat. There's going to be days that you're not going to do that.

"Today was one of those days that we couldn't score the ball right off the bat but at the end of the day we keep finding one another, keep facilitating, keep playing the right way. For me and for Khris, that's what we both did.

"Obviously they did a great job guarding us and just making it tough for us, but it did not really test our patience, because what we do, we keep playing the right way, we keep finding one another."

Antetokounmpo turned in a career-best 15 assists on the way to his first playoff triple-double, adding 20 points and 12 rebounds as the Bucks out-scored the Heat 64-39 in the second half. 

But he left most of the scoring load to others this time, as Brook Lopez led the way with 25 points, Middleton had 20, and Bryn Forbes scored 22 off the bench. 

"I try to affect the game in any way I can," Antetokounmpo said.

"I'm blessed enough that I can affect the game defensively, I can pass the ball.

"There's days I'm going to be dominant, and I'm mature enough to understand that there's days I'm going to be able to do it and there's days I'm not going to be able to do it."

Thanks to their first-round sweep, Milwaukee will have a week off before the next round, where they were eliminated 4-1 by the Bucks last season. 

Antetokounmpo and his teammates want more this year, and they know this was just the start. 

"We've got to keep getting better. We have a week now to recover and rest our bodies and get better," he said.

Obviously we don't know who we're playing yet. We're going to try to focus on ourselves as much as possible. 

"Not trying to take anything away from this moment -- obviously it's a great moment for us, winning 4-0 and beating the team that beat us last year. It feels good. But at the end of the day, we've got a long way to go. Gotta stay humble."

Related items

  • Michigan State give Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo new 5-year, $31m contract Michigan State give Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo new 5-year, $31m contract

    Michigan State and Tom Izzo have agreed to a new five-year, $31 million contract, giving the Hall of Fame men’s basketball coach an annual raise of about $2 million.  

    The university announced the contract extension on Thursday, pending board approval.  

    "We greatly appreciate Coach Izzo's commitment to our outstanding university and his competitive drive to keep Spartan basketball as a national powerhouse," university president Samuel Stanley said in a statement. 

    The MSU Athletics account on Twitter announced Izzo’s new deal using the phrase "Spartan For Life."

    "Twelve years ago, Tom Izzo said he would be a Spartan for Life, and today's announcement further demonstrates and renews this commitment," AD Alan Haller said in a statement. "We have worked collaboratively to come up with a contract which benefits the university, coach Izzo and his family."

    A 2016 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Izzo is entering his 28th year at the helm of Spartan men’s basketball with a career record of 666-267.  

    Izzo has led Michigan State to eight Final Four appearances, including the 2000 national championship.  

    The Spartans have participated in NCAA Tournament in a Big Ten-record 24 straight seasons.  

    "Michigan State has been a home to me and my family for 40 years and I'm ecstatic to sign this contract," Izzo said in the statement. 

  • NBA announces the retirement of Bill Russell's number six jersey league-wide NBA announces the retirement of Bill Russell's number six jersey league-wide

    The NBA has made the historic decision to retire the number six from all franchises' jerseys to honour the legacy of Boston Celtics icon Bill Russell, who passed away on July 31 at 88 years old.

    It is the first time in history that a jersey number has been retired league-wide, and in addition, every jersey and every home court in the 2022-23 season will feature a clover-shaped logo bearing the number six.

    Russell holds the record for winning the most NBA Championships, collecting 11 rings from 1957 to 1969 while winning five league MVP awards.

    Across his career, Russell averaged 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds per game, and at nearly seven-feet tall while being a world-class high-jumper and sprinter, is considered arguably the sport's greatest ever defensive player.

    Since 2009, the NBA Finals MVP award has been named after Russell.

    While his competitive achievements place him amongst the greatest to ever lace up a pair of basketball shoes, his off-court legacy is just as significant, as he became one of the faces of the American civil rights movement.

    Russell was regularly pictured with Martin Luther King Jr, Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the public faces of the campaign for civil rights in the United States, and in 2011, then-president Barack Obama awarded Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his accomplishments both on and off the court.

    In a statement, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said: "Bill Russell's unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserves to be honoured in a unique and historic way. 

    "Permanently retiring his number six across every NBA team ensures that Bill's transcendent career will always be recognised."

     

  • Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai appears to side with his front office after Kevin Durant ultimatum Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai appears to side with his front office after Kevin Durant ultimatum

    Just hours after reports came out detailing how Kevin Durant gave the Brooklyn Nets an ultimatum about his future with the franchise, team owner Joe Tsai has sensationally thrown his support behind general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash.

    In a report from The Athletic's Shams Charania, it states Durant had a meeting with Tsai on Monday where he reiterated his trade request, as well as the bombshell that he will refuse to remain with the team unless Marks and Nash are both fired.

    Durant, 33, is about to enter the first year of his four-year, $198million contract extension with the Nets, meaning there is no way for the two-time NBA Finals MVP to literally force his way out. To leave Brooklyn, the team will need to trade him, and there is no guarantee that is in their plans, despite Durant's requests.

    In a clear statement of where his loyalty lies, Tsai tweeted: "Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets."

    The Athletic's report also revealed the Nets "engaged in conversations with almost every team in the league" after Durant's initial trade request, but no team has been able to meet their asking price, which is said to be one of the biggest in NBA history.

    The Boston Celtics, the Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat are mentioned as the three teams most likely to aggressively pursue a trade, with 25-year-old Celtics wing Jaylen Brown considered the best player being included in negotiations.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.