Wednesday, October 4 2023

Giannis Antetokounmpo paused for a second, shook his head, took a deep breath, and then covered his face with his hands before addressing a question from a media member following Milwaukee’s 128-126 overtime loss to the Miami Heat in Game 5 in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, which put an end to the Bucks’ season.

The question: “Do you view this season as a failure?”

“You asked me the same question last year. Do you get a promotion every year?” Antetokounmpo asked. “No, right? So, every year you work is a failure … yes or no?

“It’s not a failure. It’s steps to success. There’s always steps to it. Michael Jordan played 15 years, won six championships. The other nine years was a failure? That’s what you’re telling me?

“There’s no failure in sports. There’s good days, bad days. Some days you’re able to be successful, some days you’re not. Some days it’s your turn, some days it’s not your turn. And that’s what sports is about. You don’t always win. Sometimes other people win. And this year somebody else is going to win, simple as that.”

Despite his impressive 38-point, 20-rebound effort, Antetokounmpo and the No. 1-seeded Bucks saw their season come to an abrupt close Wednesday night, becoming just the fourth No. 1 seed to fall to a No. 8 seed in an opening-round best-of-seven series in NBA history. The last time it happened was back in 2012, when the Philadelphia 76ers upset the top-seeded Chicago Bulls following Derrick Rose‘s knee injury.

Milwaukee appeared to have Wednesday night’s game in hand, holding onto a 16-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Then, Jimmy Butler and the Heat put together an impressive late rally, sending the game into overtime on a layup with a half second remaining in the fourth quarter.


Butler and the Heat put away the Bucks in overtime as the star forward finished with a team-high 42 points in the victory, which led to Antetokounmpo’s postgame frustrations.

“It’s going to be hard for Giannis to play this one down,” FOX Sports’ Shannon Sharpe said on Thursday’s airing of “Undisputed.” “You either win or lose, and you lost, and this season was an epic collapse.”

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The Bucks now enter an offseason filled with questions as starting big man Brook Lopez is set to become an unrestricted free agent and star forward Khris Middleton has a $40 million player option. Antetokounmpo has two years remaining on his five-year max extension he signed back in 2020.

According to FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd, it’s time for the Bucks to make some wholesale changes this offseason.

“This was the last year for this Milwaukee roster,” Cowherd said on Thursday’s airing of “The Herd.” “[Their] best days are way behind them. You’ve got to reboot this roster.”

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As for Miami, Jimmy Butler & Co. will now advance to the second round to face the fifth-seeded New York Knicks, who earned a 4-1 first-round series win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. That second-round series is scheduled to get underway Sunday in New York.

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