Central Notes: Giannis, Bucks, Carter, Cavs

After leading the NBA in regular season wins in each of the last two seasons, the Bucks have had an up-and-down start to the 2020/21 season. The team has now lost its last four games, dropping its record to 16-12, but reigning two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t concerned about the slump, as Eric Woodyard of ESPN details.

“I kind of have a feeling that everybody is in a panic mode, which should not be the case,” Antetokounmpo said.

While the Bucks’ star isn’t ready to panic, he acknowledged that the team has to “be better,” and noted that the absence of Jrue Holiday – who is sidelined due to the league’s health and safety protocols – has hurt in the last week.

“Obviously, one of our best players on the team and playmakers and best defenders on the team is not playing with us,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously, it’s not an excuse. I’m not a guy that gives excuses. But it’s a big part of who we are, and we need him.”

The Bucks haven’t offered any specifics on Holiday’s status, but he has now been out for over a week and the belief is that he registered a positive COVID-19 test.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Tuesday’s game was the first this season in which the Bucks allowed fans into Fiserv Forum. According to a press release, the plan is to increase capacity to approximately 1,800 fans – 10% of the arena’s full capacity – by Sunday.
  • After missing 11 games due to a quad injury, Wendell Carter Jr. returned to the Bulls‘ starting lineup on Monday. Carter, who beat his projected recovery timeline, said after the game that he felt healthy, but admitted his conditioning could use some work, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. “I got winded pretty quickly which I knew was going to happen,” Carter said after logging 21 minutes.
  • Several Cavaliers players – including J.R. Smith, Kevin Love, Kevin Porter, and now Andre Drummond – have expressed some level of dissatisfaction with the organization in recent years, prompting Jason Lloyd of The Athletic to try to determine why it keeps happening. While Lloyd has no solid answers, he observes that general manager Koby Altman has been a common denominator and questions the front office’s culture-building ability.
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