Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer explains why he didn’t play Giannis Antetokounmpo longer in Game 6
The Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, ending what has been a superb but disappointing playoff run for the team that owned the best record in the league.
After winning Games 1 and 2 of the series, the Bucks lost four straight games against the Raptors, with Giannis Antetokounmpo struggling as he was completely shut down by Kawhi Leonard.
In Game 3, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse put Leonard as the primary defender on Giannis, and things started to fall apart from there.
The Bucks had lots of chances in Game 6, but there were some stretches in the second half where Antetokounmpo was sitting on the bench. After the game, reporters asked Mike Budenholzer why he didn’t play the Greek Freak longer, knowing how important the game was.
Here’s his response:
"I don't think Giannis playing 44 minutes is the solution."
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 26, 2019
Antetokounmpo played a total of 41 minutes in the game, finishing with 21 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals. A solid all-around outing for the MVP frontrunner. However, it wasn’t his playing time that cost the Bucks the series.
Giannis was unable to break the Raptors’ defense, something that he was able to do against the Detroit Pistons and the Boston Celtics in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Toronto made him earn his points the hard way, going extremely physical on him and fouling him hard whenever he attempts to score in the painted area.
Antetokounmpo fished a lot of fouls, but failed to hit his free throws, especially when they mattered the most.
The Bucks will now use the offseason to regroup and work on the things that they need to improve. They will surely be one of the best teams in the league yet again next season, and a bounce-back year is expected from a team that has a player highly regarded as one of the best in the world.