Giannis Antetokounmpo is ready to turn the page.
The top-seeded Bucks were eliminated from the playoffs when they fell to the Raptors in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. Antetokounmpo addressed the loss in an Instagram post Sunday.
“We’ll be back stronger and better,” Antetokounmpo’s message read. “Milwaukee thank you for supporting my teammates and I this entire season we couldn’t have done it without you all!”
Milwaukee won the first two games of the series against Toronto. But, it then dropped four straight, including the 100-94 loss Saturday.
“Obviously when you’re up 2-0, that doesn’t mean nothing,” Antetokounmpo told reporters. “You’ve got to learn how to come out and close out games, especially after Game 3. We’ve got to get better as a team, and we’ve got to get better individually. I think it’s just the start of a long journey.
“We’re going to get better. We’re going to come back next year and believe in who we are, believe in what we’ve built this year, and hopefully we can be in the same situation and be the ones moving forward.”
Antetokounmpo averaged 25.5 points and 12.3 rebounds throughout the playoffs for Milwaukee. The star, however, was the focus of Toronto’s game plan and struggled at times during the series.
“What I did was trust my teammates,” Antetokounmpo said. “That’s what I’ve been doing the whole year. If we lose by doing that, by trusting one another, by moving the ball, by doing what we’ve been doing all year, by trusting our habits, it’s okay. I just tried to stay aggressive, tried to make the right play. That’s what I’ve been doing all year, and that’s what I tried to do tonight.”
The 24-year-old is a finalist for the 2018-19 MVP award and has made three straight All-Star teams. He told reporters he’s going to focus on improving this summer.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 26, 2019
“I’m going to make sure I get in contact with the coaching staff and see what we can work on as a team and how can I get better individually,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s something that I take pride in, getting better in the offseason. So hopefully now I can work on the right things, listen to my coaches and what they think I can get better on, work my butt off and come back next year and just be a better basketball player and a better teammate.”
The MVP will be presented Monday, June 24 at the NBA awards show.