By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks did not look like themselves in Game 1, thanks in large part to the Celtics’ excellent gameplanning and execution. So you’d expect some adjustments from Milwaukee for Game 2, right? Wrong, apparently.
Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer was practically incredulous when speaking to reporters on Monday. He sounds ready to risk banging the Bucks’ proverbial heads against the wall.
“I think when we’re us that’s when we’re at our best,” Budenholzer said, via Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “I think sometimes adjustments and all those things are actually somewhat overrated.”
Antetokounmpo echoed Budenholzer, in that he practically seems mentally prepared to be down 0-2 going back to Boston.
“We’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing all year. I think there should be no change at all. Why should there be a change after a game that we lost?” he said.
Calling Game 1 “a game that we lost” severely downplays how poorly the Bucks shot the ball, and how effective Al Horford and the Celtics were at the defensive end.
“We should not be the team that makes the adjustment even though we lost the first game,” Antetokounmpo continued. “We’re just going to come out and play our hardest, see how Game 2 goes. If it doesn’t go well for us, then you can think about adjusting. But right now, we’re not adjusting nothing. We’re just going to be us.”
Added Antetokounmpo: “I can’t promise you we are going to win, but I can promise we are going to play hard.”
To be fair, Antetokounmpo shouldn’t be guaranteeing wins either. And it’s true that the Bucks are simply capable of playing better than they did on Sunday. Antetokounmpo can’t be hitting just 4-of-16 two-point field goal attempts and 5-for-10 from the free-throw line, which were well below his regular season averages.
At the same time, most of the time Antetokounmpo drove toward the basket the Celtics met him with some form of this:
It’s a challenge for anyone to drive the lane with 2-3 bodies stacking him up, while the defense stays sharp with its assignments and switches throughout the game. Even for the Greek Freak, who’s going to be MVP of the league because of his dominance around the rim. Hard to believe the Bucks won’t adjust anything, considering how well the Celtics’ schemes and an impeccable Horford slowed them down.
But that’s what Budenholzer is trusting to happen. Surely Antetokounmpo can make better decisions with the ball and execute better around the rim than he did in Game 1. His teammates (10-for-34 from three) could definitely shoot better when the ball is kicked out to them.
The Bucks better show that improvement they’re talking about, or this series could get uglier for them in a hurry.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.