Giannis Antetokounmpo Sounds Off on Celtics After Near-Disaster Loss

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Grant Williams of the Boston Celtics.

Getty Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Grant Williams of the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics walked into Fiserv Forum on February 14 without four of their starters. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Al Horford were all out, and the Milwaukee Bucks, the second-best team in the Eastern Conference, were staring them right in the face.

Despite that, Boston was able to make the game interesting and even held a 14-point lead at one point. They took the game to overtime, but Milwaukee ended up coming out on top. After the game, Giannis Antetokounmpo explained that the Bucks need to play high-level defense more consistently throughout the game, praising the Celtics’ team-oriented play in the process.

“You got to guard. You got to guard. They’re a team that moves the ball a lot,” Antetokounmpo explained via the Bucks’ official YouTube channel. “It doesn’t matter who’s out there, they’re very disciplined. They just keep moving the ball, try to break down our defense, and find open shots. We got to have that individual pride to keep guys in front of us as much as we can. That’s what makes us great. Obviously, we did it a little bit more when we were down in the fourth quarter, during overtime, but we got to do it throughout the whole game. That’s when we are at our best. We’re able to guard, keep them in front, get some deflections, get some steals, run the other way, find the open man, find some open threes, [and] get in the paint for easy twos. But I believe when you play the best Bucks basketball, that’s when we defend. We were able to do it in the fourth quarter and overtime.”

Even without four of their starters, the Celtics were able to defend Antetokounmpo at a high level. He put up 36 points but shot just 12-of-26 from the field overall and just 6-of-18 in the second half and overtime. Unfortunately for the Celtics, Jrue Holiday caught fire, pouring in 40 points on the night.

Derrick White Reveals Secret to Hot Streak

As for the Celtics, with the number of injuries they’ve been dealing with, Derrick White has stepped up in a big way. After Boston’s February 12 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, he revealed how he’s been mentally preparing for the games when he knows he’ll have a larger role.

“I tell myself just to have good energy,” White said via CLNS Media. “I feel like when I have good energy, whether they’re [Boston’s injured players] in or not, I’m able to do some good things out there. So, I just tell myself that before every game just to bring the energy. And then, make shots, miss shots, just make the right play.”

Grant Williams Wants $20 Million Contract

In other news, long-time NBA insider Marc Stein reported in his newsletter, The Stein Line, that Celtics forward Grant Williams is looking for a contract worth roughly $20 million annually this offseason, as he will be a restricted free agent.

“The Celtics, to no one’s surprise, did not trade Grant Williams,” Stein wrote. “Making minor tweaks was the understandable preference for the defending Eastern Conference champions when they ranked as the league’s only team with a win total in the 40s entering Monday’s play. Yet rumbles persist that various teams are monitoring the situation and curious about Williams’ future there. Williams is poised to become a restricted free agent this summer and said to be seeking a contract in the Keldon Johnson-in-San Antonio, $20-million-annually range.”

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