MILWAUKEE — Early on Tuesday night, the Milwaukee Bucks formally closed the guide on final season’s championship run in an emotional pre-game ceremony in entrance of a sold-out Fiserv Discussion board. The gamers and coaches obtained their rings and a model new banner that celebrates their first title in 50 years was unfurled from the rafters. A couple of hours later, they walked again to the locker room after a convincing opening night time win over the Brooklyn Nets, 127-104.
In some ways, it was the identical outdated Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo was relentless on each ends of the ground, delivering show-stopping blocks and highly effective slams en path to 32 factors, 14 rebounds and 7 assists. Khris Middleton was flattening jumpers and flashing his playmaking abilities. Jrue Holiday, till he went down with a bruised heel, was placing in work defensively. As a workforce, they launched 3s at will, performed exhausting and fed off the power of the gang.
“Our strategy is identical,” Giannis mentioned. “First recreation, residence opener, you possibly can really feel the power, the jitters, guys like Michael Redd, Brandon Jennings had been right here. However we had been capable of come on the market and do our job it doesn’t matter what goes on. Jrue went down however we had been capable of come out compete, guys step up and do our job. So if our strategy to the sport doesn’t change — the fellows which might be on the market and coach [Mike Budenholzer] — it is exhausting to alter the tradition of this workforce.”
However for those who had been within the constructing, it was exhausting to not discover there was one thing totally different about them. There was a brand new air concerning the workforce, an elevated stage of confidence. You might see it in the way in which they carried themselves, and in the way in which they performed. Their opponents observed it as effectively.
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“Yeah they positively have extra confidence,” Kevin Durant mentioned. “When you’ve got core guys which have been collectively for 4 to 5 years I believe they get extra comfy with one another. After which having some success like successful the championship that naturally brings confidence. That is going to be good for all of them 12 months. They’re gonna use that to squeeze out video games. That have of successful a championship and going via deep runs collectively that is gonna win them a number of video games this 12 months. So yeah, I see it.”
Their new perspective was evident just some minutes into the sport. After James Harden missed considered one of his patented step-back jumpers, Pat Connaughton secured the rebound and handed the ball to Middleton. With out taking a dribble, Middleton wound up and fired a rocket move the size of the ground that break up Harden and Joe Harris and hit Giannis in stride. The reigning Finals MVP did the remaining, rocking the rim with an and-one jam and hanging on the rim for additional emphasis.
This was a workforce and a duo working on a unique stage.
“We positively received much more confidence to ourselves,” Middleton mentioned. “It is pure, we should always. We’re the champs. We have been via each sort of scenario you possibly can undergo so you already know what to anticipate so there is no want to fret about failing or whatnot as a result of you already know what to do. You realize what’s anticipated of you to get again to that time.”
Because the Bucks start their quest for a repeat, which simply seven different franchises in NBA historical past have completed, they will must lean on each features that introduced them success towards the Nets — their long-established tradition and their newfound confidence from successful a title.
“We received nice leaders on our workforce,” Connaughton mentioned. “Jrue, Giannis, Khris, they’re humble. So we now have that confidence however it’s not a cockiness. There is a good quantity of groups on the market which have championship on their thoughts, so it is about remaining humble within the confidence we now have.”
The Bucks are a kind of groups with a championship on their thoughts, and if they’ll discover the appropriate stability there is a good likelihood they will be celebrating one other ring night time in Milwaukee a 12 months from now.
https://www.cbssports.com/nba/information/bucks-crush-nets-on-opening-night-thanks-to-established-culture-and-a-newfound-confidence/ | Bucks crush Nets on opening night time because of established tradition and a newfound confidence