Giannis: "I'm at my best when I'm aggressive"
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo reacted to his monster performance against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Giannis Antetokounmpo insisted he is at his best when he is aggressive after the Milwaukee Bucks superstar posted 47 points in Wednesday's win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Antetokounmpo was unstoppable in Milwaukee midweek, erupting for a season high as NBA champions the Bucks took down the LeBron James-less Lakers 109-102.
The reigning NBA Finals MVP became the fifth player in the last 20 seasons to score 45-plus points on 75 per cent shooting from the field and 75 per cent shooting from three-point range.
Antetokounmpo is the first player to post at least 45 points on 75-plus per cent field-goal percentage against the Lakers since Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal in 1995.
"I feel like the past games I wasn't as aggressive as I want to be, wasn't initiating the contact, wasn't getting into the pain as much," Antetokounmpo told reporters post-game.
"At the end of the day, you try to develop your weaknesses and forget your strengths. Had two days in between, talk to the coaches, watch a lot of tape. I want to be aggressive, initiate the contact and get into the pain. Play with an edge.
"At the end of the day, I just let my instincts take over…"
Antetokounmpo added: "There's been so much I've been asked to do – lead, be vocal, pass the ball, rebound the ball, score the ball. I just try to compete. Moving forward, I just want to be aggressive. I'm my best when I'm aggressive."
All-Star team-mate Khris Middleton returned after an eight-game absence due to COVID-19 and tied Milwaukee's franchise record for career three-pointers.
Middleton – who finished with 16 points, six assists and five rebounds – matched Ray Allen for first place with his 1,051st career three.
"Feels good to have him back. We've missed him. Just having him out there, he draws a lot of attention. People have to guard him," said Antetokounmpo of Middleton.
"As much as I was complaining in the past, just an inside joke with him about seeing him too much, we have to get some space... I kind of missed him. Having him out there helped the team. He made great plays down the stretch."
It has been a topsy-turvy start to the season for the Bucks (7-8) in their title defence due to injuries and COVID-related absences – Milwaukee are 11th in the Eastern Conference.
"We have to start winning games. It's not the most important thing," Antetokounmpo continued. "The most important thing to get better and build good habits. Play good basketball down the stretch in May and June but at the end of the day, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you keep losing.
"We have to start putting teams away. When we're up 15, we can't step back, we have to attack and keep playing with that edge. Don't be satisfied. With Khris back, it's a good opportunity to get back on track. We're in a good place right now."