Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo certainly don’t like to suffer a 129-115 road loss to the Utah Jazz at Vivint Arena on Friday night, but he couldn’t help but admire how “easy” the game looked to them.
More importantly, jazz deserves its respect: Antetokounmpo said they were “the best team in the west”.
Antetokounmpo, the reigning NBA MVP, finished the race on 29 points, 15 rebounds and six assists after scoring two points in the first half – his fewest this half of the season.
And after seeing how jazz had four 25-point scorers for the first time in franchise history, Antetokounmpo felt a personal connection with what was happening before his eyes.
“It just looks funny. When I see them play, it looks funny, it just looks,” said Antetokounmpo. “It looks easy. Sure, you look like we did last year, and man, if you’re at this point and playing with that confidence, you sure are hard to beat.”
Like last season’s Bucks, Jazz (21-5) have the best record in the NBA. They have won 17 of their last 18 games, with the track’s first win against the Bucks on January 8th.
Ingles said it would take them a minute to celebrate the win, but things would get back to business after that.
Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz are 17-1 in their last 18 games. “We don’t want to be the best team in February,” said Mitchell. “We want to be the best team in July.” Photo by Jeff Swinger / NBAE via Getty Images
“I think we’re not that happy yet,” said Ingles, who went 4 on 4 from the 3-point area.
That’s because their goals are way bigger than the regular season, especially after last season when they had a 3-1 lead over Denver and were eliminated in the first round.
“We don’t want to be the best team in February, we want to be the best team in July,” said Mitchell.
Being respected in the supreme role is still something new to Mitchell and his teammates. As the leaders in Utah, Mitchell and Gobert’s ways to become NBA All-Stars weren’t always set in stone, and they developed an underdog mentality that carried over to the team.
“It’s different in my four years. You look at all of us and every single story … [we were] underrated, “said Mitchell.” I think now we’ve got to the point where people are coming up to us and the way we have responded to that is very impressive. I think we can do a lot more to keep getting better, but it doesn’t hurt to be in the moment and understand that what we’re doing is pretty cool. “
The road isn’t getting much easier for Utah intense heat, Philadelphia 76ers and back-to-back games against that LA Clippers next. Then it’s Charlotte on February 22nd, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers on February 24th and the heat again on February 26th.
While the emphasis may not be on the regular season, jazz knows it can’t bypass it either.
However, jazz coach Quin Snyder said, “Nobody hits their chests over anything we’ve done.
“Honestly, you never want that and it is never appropriate if you aren’t the last team,” said Snyder. “We will continue to try to avoid that.”