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Budenholzer: 'We won't overuse Giannis in pursuit of NBA Finals'

Don’t expect the MVP candidate to play all 48 minutes, or even 45, to try to keep the Milwaukee Bucks alive in the playoffs.

MILWAUKEE BUCKS HEAD coach Mike Budenholzer insisted the NBA Finals hopefuls will not overuse star Giannis Antetokounmpo against the Toronto Raptors.

The Bucks trail 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals following Thursday’s 105-99 Game 5 defeat in Milwaukee.

giannis-antetokounmpo-usnews-051519-ftr-getty_9omyemxi8zmr1ic2blfjv3c13 Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo.

However, do not expect MVP candidate Antetokounmpo to play all 48 minutes, or even 45, to try to get the Bucks a win in a Game 6 or potential Game 7.

“At the end of the day, you need to be able to produce and perform, including in the fourth quarter,” Budenholzer told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Friday.

I don’t feel any different about how we use him [now that the Bucks are down 3-2], how much we use him.”

This comes one day after Budenholzer talked about doing his best to get “Peak Giannis”, meaning he wants to keep him as fresh as he can with well-timed rest throughout the game so the three-time All-Star can be at his best down the stretch.

Antetokounmpo played 39 minutes in the Game 5 defeat to, which is as much as the Greek sensation has played in a regulation game this postseason.

Budenholzer said he would consider extending his time a bit though, he just will not take Antetokounmpo into Kawhi Leonard territory after the Raptors star played 43 minutes in the epic Game 7 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in the Conference semi-finals.

“Giannis, it’s so impressive what he does and how important he is,” Budenholzer said.

What did he play, 39 minutes last night? Are you talking 40, 42? I don’t think it’ll go there. If we have to, we can. I maintain getting him appropriate rest, appropriate chance to catch his breath, refuel [is necessary].”

The Bucks have lost the last three games of the Eastern Conference Finals as Antetokounmpo has not been at his best. The Raptors have done a good job of crowding the paint and taking away easy buckets from him.

And as that has happened, the Bucks’ supporting cast have struggled to make open shots they are getting as a result. That is where Budenholzer sees his team needing the most improvement.

“Certainly, we need the bench,” the Bucks’ coach said. “We usually sprinkle starters with bench guys. If last night we weren’t good, there’s been other nights when he’s been out we’ve been very good.

People have said, ‘Wow, isn’t it great that you can do well when Giannis doesn’t play?’ Every night’s a little different, every game’s a little different and I think we’ll stay the course.”

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