Giannis Says 5-Game Losing Streak Will Make Bucks ‘Mentally Tougher’ in Long Run

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Morry Gash/Associated PressMilwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t panicking over his team’s five-game losing streak. Instead, he’s trying to take it all in stride.     Following the Bucks’ latest loss, a 110-96 defeat to a Toronto Raptors team under .500, Milwaukee (16-13) is still atop a weak Central Division, but the Indiana Pacers are only…

Giannis Says 5-Game Losing Streak Will Make Bucks ‘Mentally Tougher’ in Long Run
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Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo shoots over Toronto Raptors' Chris Boucher (25) and Norman Powell (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 18, 2src21, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Morry Gash/Associated Press

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t panicking over his team’s five-game losing streak. Instead, he’s trying to take it all in stride.     

Following the Bucks’ latest loss, a 110-96 defeat to a Toronto Raptors team under .500, Milwaukee (16-13) is still atop a weak Central Division, but the Indiana Pacers are only a game back. That the Bucks have allowed more than 120 points in three of their five losses may prove most concerning of all.

Just not to Giannis.

“I think it’s gonna help us as a team to be mentally tougher, Antetokounmpo told reporters Thursday night.

Eric Woodyard @E_Woodyard

Giannis says the 5-game losing skid is “not frustrating.” He sees the growing pains as “part of it.”

He says he likes facing adversity and credits this mindset to growth as a person. “I think it’s gonna help us as a team to be mentally tougher,” he said.

After back-to-back losses to the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz, a four-game stretch against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Raptors should’ve been the remedy. The Thunder, in particular, are struggling at 11-17. 

Instead, the Bucks dropped two in a row to Toronto and are facing another showdown with OKC on Friday—a quick turnaround for a Milwaukee team coming off a rough loss. 

For a team with championship aspirations, the Bucks have done little to show they’re up to the task recently. 

The 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks were the last team to lose five or more consecutive games and win a championship in the same season. That Mavs stretch lasted six games and came during a January when the club went 8-8 overall. Milwaukee is 5-5 in February with five games left in the month. 

It’s clear this is dangerous territory for the Bucks and certainly not the type of history any contender wants to flirt with.

Head coach Mike Budenholzer lamented the ease with which opponents have been able to drive to the rim. 

“It would be great if we could just keep the ball in front of us better,” Budenholzer said. “Guard the ball better, put less pressure on Brook [Lopez] and Giannis.”

Friday offers another opportunity to prove the team can do so. If the Bucks can’t, larger questions about their ability to succeed may be impossible to avoid. 

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