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Giannis Antetokounmpo after Bucks loss to Rockets: 'We have four months to get better'

Milwaukee Bucks v Houston Rockets
Milwaukee Bucks v Houston Rockets

A dreadful first half — where Milwaukee shot 39.5% while letting Houston get into the paint and shoot 50% overall (with six 3-pointers) — had the Rockets up by 20 on the visiting Bucks by halftime. Houston's 18-5 run late in the first half sealed that lead. Milwaukee could never climb out of the hole and lost 112-108.

The Bucks have dropped 3-of-4, and Giannis Antetokounmpo was incredibly frustrated after the game.

"We have to be better. We have to play better, we have to defend better, we have to trust one another better, we have to be coached better," Antetokounmpo said, via the Associated Press. "Every single thing, everybody has to be better. It starts from the equipment manager — he has to wash our clothes better. The bench has to be better, the leaders of the team have to be more vocal, we have to make more shots, we have to defend better, we have to have a better strategy, we have to be better.

"We have four months to get better, so we'll see."

My guess is the equipment manager does a stellar job washing the uniforms, but you can see Antetokounmpo's point — the Bucks do not look like a championship-level team of late.

When Milwaukee moved on from defense-first coach Mike Budenholzer and traded Jrue Holiday for Damian Lillard, there was an expectation that the defense would suffer (but the offense would make up for it). Things have been worse than expected under first-year coach Adrian Griffin, the Bucks are not playing championship-level defense even if the offense is special. They are ranked 21st in the NBA in defense on the season, and over the last five games things have been a little worse (1.2 points per 100 possessions worse).

Milwaukee's offense is off by 5.1 points per 100 possessions in those same five games. However, Antetokounmpo's point is that this team won its title because of a rock-solid defense and enough offense to win. Right now this is an offensive team hoping to get enough defense to win, which tends to be less consistent. Compare that to the bar being set in Boston — the team with the best net rating in the league for the season and over the last five games — and it's concerning.

Milwaukee has four months to figure it out.