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Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to trust his teammates

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Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee), Khris Middleton (knee) out vs Heat
USA Today Network

Following the Milwaukee Bucks’ 118-100 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was asked why his team starts off slower in games compared to other playoff contenders.

“I don’t know. I think being complacent, being comfortable,” responded the two-time MVP. “We just expect to… I don’t know. People are going to just hand us games. It doesn’t work that way. I think you have to go out there and take it.”

Based on a few NBA betting sites, the Bucks have the second-best odds to win the championship in 2023. A number of sportsbooks are giving the Boston Celtics better odds to win the Eastern Conference.

“You have to go out there and play good basketball, build good habits, defend and kind of, you know, compete,” added the Bucks star. “At the end of the day, I don’t think anyone is going to give you anything in life.

“You don’t take things in life because you’re more handsome or more smarter than anybody or you’re cooler than anybody. You have to go out and grab it…”

Giannis Antetokounmpo says the Bucks have to take what they want, not play down to their competition

Through 27 starts this season, Antetokounmpo is averaging a career-high 31.4 points, along with 11.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.0 block per game. Plus, while logging 33.1 minutes per game, the Greek Freak is also shooting 54.1% from the floor.

On Wednesday, in the Bucks’ 114-106 loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the 10-year veteran scored a season-high 45 points in 40 minutes of action. In addition to grabbing 14 rebounds, the forward shot 17-of-27 (63%) from the field.

Although Milwaukee has suffered back-to-back losses, they trail the Celtics by just half a game in the East for the top seed. The Bucks are averaging 112.5 points per game, which ranks 17th overall. Meanwhile, they are allowing a fifth-best 109.2 points per game. For a comparison, Boston sits at the 13th spot, surrendering 112.2 points per contest.

Besides consistency, Giannis Antetokounmpo believes trusting his teammates is the key. “I feel like sometimes… I trust my team, I trust my teammates, I trust the guys. And I trust what we’ve built here,” mentioned the six-time All-Star.

“But I think sometimes we get in a place where, I don’t know, we go out there and think, ‘They’re going to give us the game today.’ That’s it. It doesn’t work that way… And even though we lost twice in a row now, I don’t worry. I don’t worry at all. Khris is going to be back…”

Middleton has missed the last four games due to a knee injury and sprained left ankle. The 2021 NBA champ has made only seven appearances so far this season. With Middleton healthy, the Bucks are definitely a better team.

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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