Sometimes stars take over series to will their teams to wins, but Mike Budenholzer won’t do that just to do it.
Don’t expect Giannis Antetokounmpo to play all 48 minutes, or even 45, to try to get the Bucks a win in a Game 6 or potential Game 7.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer insists he will not overuse his MVP candidate to try to get him to will Milwaukee to victory. But to be clear, Antetokounmpo’s usage will still be very high Saturday.
“At the end of the day, you need to be able to produce and perform, including in the fourth quarter,” Budenholzer told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Friday. “I don’t feel any different about how we use him (now that the Bucks are down 3-2), how much we use him.”
Last night, Bud talked about needing “Peak Giannis,” which involves getting him adequate rest so he can always be in top form. I asked if he’d be inclined to ride Giannis more — meaning he wouldn’t always be at peak — in Game 6. He flatly rejected the idea before expounding: pic.twitter.com/3w8lGX7mTn
— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) May 24, 2019
This comes one day after Budenholzer talked about doing his best to get “Peak Giannis” meaning he wants to keep him as fresh as he can with well-timed rest throughout the game so he can be at his best down the stretch.
Giannis isn’t the type of player who can beat a team from anywhere on the court due to his lack of a great jump shot, so it’s really tough for him to take over a game like Kawhi Leonard did in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the 76ers, so to ask the Bucks forward to dominate the ball and the offense like that may be misguided.
Antetokounmpo played 39 minutes in a Game 5 loss to the Raptors on Thursday which is as much as he has played in a regulation game this postseason.
Budenholzer said he would consider extending his time a bit though, he just won’t take Giannis into Leonard territory where he played 43 in that epic Game 7.
“Giannis, it’s so impressive what he does and how important he is,” Budenholzer said. “What did he play, 39 minutes last night? Are you talking 40, 42? I don’t think it’ll go there. If we have to, we can. I maintain getting him appropriate rest, appropriate chance to catch his breath, refuel (is necessary).”
The Bucks have lost the last three games of the Eastern Conference finals as Antetokounmpo has not been at his best. The Raptors have done a good job of crowding the paint and taking away easy buckets from him.
And as that has happened, the Bucks’ supporting cast has struggled to make open shots they are getting as a result. That is where Budenholzer sees his team needing the most improvement.
“Certainly, we need the bench,” the Bucks’ coach said. “We usually sprinkle starters with bench guys. If last night we weren’t good, there’s been other nights when he’s been out we’ve been very good.
“People have said, ‘Wow, isn’t it great that you can do well when Giannis doesn’t play?’ Every night’s a little different, every game’s a little different and I think we’ll stay the course.”