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Giannis Antetokounmpo: Bucks will learn from Lakers defeat

  • The Milwaukee Bucks lost the battle of the top seeds on Friday, leaving Giannis Antetokounmpo to say: "We've got to do better".
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Modified 07 Mar 2020, 15:54 IST
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Giannis Antetokounmpo reacts during the Bucks' defeat to the Lakers.

Giannis Antetokounmpo admitted the Milwaukee Bucks "didn't play smart" against the Los Angeles Lakers - but believes his team will learn lessons from Friday's defeat.

LeBron James scored 37 points, had eight rebounds and provided eight assists as the Lakers won the battle between the top seeds in each conference, prevailing 113-103 at Staples Center.

However, the home team were aided by shooting 38 free-throw attempts in the contest, hitting 31 of them, much to Antetokounmpo's frustration.

"We definitely didn't play smart," Antetokounmpo, who led his team with 32 points in a losing cause, told the media after the game. 

"We obviously tried our best. We fight – we fight in every game. We try to stay in every game that we play.

"But they shot 31 free throws. We put them on the line so easily. You take that away and it's 70-odd points. You give them 12 free throws, 14 free throws, and now you have a ball game.

"We've got to do better, obviously. We will learn a lot from this game, go back and watch the tape and get better. Now we've got to move onto the next one."

As well as a potential NBA Finals preview, the game in Los Angeles pitted two of the leading candidates for this season's MVP award against each other.

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The home crowd made clear who they believe should get the individual honour, chanting 'MVP! MVP!' for James after he pulled off a spinning dunk in the closing seconds.

Antetokounmpo, however, remains the overwhelming favourite to be crowned for a second successive season.

"It's always good playing against one of the best players in the league," he said. "When you bring the ball down, whenever you go against him, you can feel greatness.

"I've said in the past, that's where I want to be. As I said, he's one of the best players in the game, really smart. He's going to come at you – you've got to be ready to go, ready to fight against him. He's going to get his shots up, get his team-mates the ball."

Khris Middleton endured a tough outing for Milwaukee, finishing with 12 points on a 5-for-19 shooting night, but was backed by Antetokounmpo to keep on letting it go.

"Khris has got to keep shooting," he said of his team-mate. "It doesn't matter if you're having an off night, you're one of the best players in the team.

"A rough night cannot stop you from being who you are. Even if you go 0 for 20, he has to keep shooting."

Published 07 Mar 2020, 15:54 IST
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