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Mike Budenholzer admits Giannis Antetokounmpo is hard on himself, expects him to play better

Bucks, Mike Budenholzer, Giannis Antetokounmpo

Before the Eastern Conference semifinal between the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks even began, Giannis Antetokounmpo had asserted that the Celtics did not have a game plan to try and stop him.

But in Game 1 on Sunday afternoon, Boston put the clamps on Giannis early and often. Milwaukee’s MVP candidate was held to 22 points on just 7 of 21 shooting from the field. Al Horford denied Antetokounmpo numerous times in the paint, and Giannis would finish with the worst plus-minus (-24) of any player that took the floor.

Antetokounmpo has held high expectations for himself throughout the season, saying that he wants to be the best player in the league and often repeating that he wants to be himself, a silent assassin with no interest in making friends with his opponents.

Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer thinks that at times, this mentality forces Antetokounmpo to be too hard on himself. In the postgame press conference, Budenholzer said that he fully expects Giannis to be better in Game 2:

Boston seemed content to pack the paint and force Milwaukee to play from the perimeter. The Celtics held the Bucks to 33 percent shooting from beyond the arc, and allowed just 26 points in the paint.

The Bucks have already been dealt a hefty setback with shooting guard Malcolm Brogdon out at least through Game 2, so they need guys like Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez to be more efficient and force guys like Kyrie Irving and Horford to guard them all over the floor.

Otherwise, Milwaukee’s hopes will rest solely on Giannis’ broad shoulders.