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Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo on 9-1 start: ‘There’s a bigger goal here’

James Foglio profile picture
Sports Editor
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Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo joins Shaquille O'Neal, Amar'e Stoudemire for this record
USA Today Network

The Milwaukee Bucks are 9-1 for the first time in franchise history, and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is focused on ending his 10th season with another chip.

Milwaukee’s eight-game win streak was tied for the second-longest under fifth-year coach Mike Budenholzer and the longest since winning 18 straight in the 2019-20 season.

Per a few NBA betting sites, the Bucks remain the favorite to win the championship in 2023. Though, some sportsbooks show the Boston Celtics with higher odds to win the Eastern Conference.

“I think it just comes with maturity,” Antetokounmpo told ESPN’s Jamal Collier, on his growth as an NBA player. “And I know what I can bring to the table.

I know there’s going to be good days, going to be bad days. And I’m just trying to go out there and do the best I can. No matter what the result is, I’m okay with it.”

More importantly, the Bucks are finding ways to win without Pat Connaughton and Khris Middleton. Both players are expected to return this month.

Milwaukee also defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder at home, winning 108-94 on Saturday without Antetokounmpo.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is proud of the Bucks’ 9-1 start, but he feels the team should focus more on consistency

Additionally, the Bucks started 7-0 in the 2018-19 season. The six-time All-Star was asked by reporters whether he’s noticed any similarities between his sixth season and this one.

“2018 felt different,” replied Antetokounmpo. “This year it’s almost like, ‘Okay, we’re just doing our job. Just going out there and competing. Doing our job and we’re winning basketball games.’ There’s a bigger goal here that we have in mind.”

On Monday night, the Bucks picked up their first loss of the 2022-23 season against the Atlanta Hawks, losing 117-98 at State Farm Arena.

In 27 minutes played, Antetokounmpo closed out his performance with a team-high 25 points. The two-time MVP shot 9-of-21 overall.

Not to mention, the Bucks finished with a season-high 19 turnovers. Although the Hawks were without Trae Young, they still played arguably their best game of the season.

“They got the best of us tonight,” Bobby Portis said following the loss. “They made shots and spread the basketball around. And they had more energy than us tonight. It showed.”

When asked how the Bucks started the season with a league-best nine wins, Portis revealed his assessment. “Mostly, I think it’s having the same guys back, guys really being in similar roles that they were in last year,” explained the 27-year-old.

Milwaukee retained 14 of the 17 players from last season’s roster. Bettors expect the Bucks to go all in this season to win their second championship with Giannis Antetokounmpo and third title in franchise history.

James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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