Giannis Antetokounmpo not taking Bucks’ 8-0 start for granted

MINNEAPOLIS — The Milwaukee Bucks improved 8-0 for the first time in franchise history on Friday night and continued their red-hot start to the season with a 115-102 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Bucks are the NBA’s last undefeated team and were the first team to start the season 8-0 since 2015-16 when the Golden State Warriors ended the year 24-0 en route to an NBA-record 73 wins started in the regular season.

“Great to be a part of,” Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo said after Friday’s win. “You can never take it for granted. I’m very, very happy to be a part of it and to have a side that we can start the season 8-0. But at the end of the day I’m happy that we build good habits.”

Milwaukee went into the season with a goal of winning their second championship in three years, and brought back nearly their entire roster from last season for another title win. Rookie MarJon Beauchamp was the only active Bucks player Friday who wasn’t on last year’s team.

While the team has bigger goals in mind this season, it was still able to appreciate a feat no Bucks team has accomplished in 56 seasons.

“Yeah, start with that confidence and feeling like you’re building the right habits, playing right, winning in different ways when it comes to blowouts or close games or fighting back,” Bucks guard Jrue Holiday said. “It feels good to be 0-8.”

“We just play our basketball style,” said Bucks forward Bobby Portis. “Not really worried about the noise from outside and not really worried about what nobody else is up to, worried about what we’re up to, holding each other accountable and trying to be the best team we are every night be able.”

The Bucks clinched their most recent win using a combination of powerful ball movement to create chances behind the 3-point line. Milwaukee shot 44.7% from 3-point range and hit a season-high 17 3s, all assisted.

Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists on Friday, ending his streak of six straight 30-point games but recording the 30th triple double of his career. Holiday had 29 points with eight rebounds and six assists, his fourth straight game with at least 25 points.

Together, Antetokounmpo and Holiday scored or assisted 87 of the Bucks’ 115 points.

“Passing the ball generates a lot of energy,” said Antetokounmpo. “We could move the ball – everyone touched it, everyone drove and kicked it, everyone got open shots, open looks. And it was fun. The guys were taking shots and it was just contagious.”

The Bucks host the Oklahoma City Thunder in a back-to-back Test for their unbeaten record Saturday night in Milwaukee.

“8-0 is great but I’m just proud of how the team is playing,” said Antetokounmpo. “How we defend together and how we move the ball. How we get open shots. How we are unselfish and how to develop good habits. Hopefully these habits can be carried over to the next game [Saturday] and the 74 games we have left, plus playoffs.”

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/34951600/giannis-antetokounmpo-not-taking-bucks-8-0-start-granted Giannis Antetokounmpo not taking Bucks’ 8-0 start for granted

Emma Bowman

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