- Giannis Antetokounmpo erupted for 54 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Bucks dropped a road game to the rolling Pacers on Thursday.
- Antetokounmpo tweeted this after the game: “54. 45. 5. It doesn’t matter. A lot of good things we can learn from today to get better.”
- This marked the seventh game of 50 or more of Antetokounmpo’s career. But it was just the second time he’s scored 50 or more without making a 3-pointer, per Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Coach Adrian Griffin received two technicals and was ejected in the third quarter. “The first technical foul was for an overt reaction to a non-call on Giannis Antetokounmpo,” officiating crew chief Kevin Cutler said, via Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “The second was for disrespecting an official with profanity and per rule, two technical fouls, that is an automatic ejection.
Coach Steve Clifford said the Hornets are again struggling defensively, making his comments after a stunning home loss to the Wizards.
“We’ve been terrible at getting back,” Clifford said, via Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer. “Our defense can get a lot better quickly if we do two things — if we start getting our defense set, which we’ve been really poor at so far and they’ll take full advantage of. And then stop fouling.”
- Point guard LaMelo Ball gave another explanation. “Preparation,” he said, via Boone. “I feel like we didn’t come out ready. I felt we should’ve won and we just didn’t come out ready.”
- Ball did at least score 34 to give the Hornets a fighting chance. “I’ve been feeling better playing,” he said. “I’m just going to say I always feel like myself no matter what. When I am hurt, or not hurt, I’m always going to be Melo.”
Star guard Donovan Mitchell indicated the Cavs have to find a way to be more consistent from game to game — and quarter to quarter.
“Can’t have the game we had against Golden State and then come out the way we did,” he said after Wednesday’s road loss to the Thunder, via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “We made it easy on everybody. That’s the thing that really stings. All the mental stuff. Gotta give them credit as well. But we have to find ways to be better.”
- The Cavs gave up 70 points in the first half of that game, which isn’t like them … at all. “Defense is where we hang our hat,” wing Caris LeVert said, via Fedor. “We have to figure out that side of the ball.”
- Nor has point guard Darius Garland looked like himself in the four games he’s played (he missed four with a hamstring injury). Garland has passed for 27 assists — but committed 24 turnovers. That’s six a game. He is also 2-of-15 shooting on 3-pointers on the season.
- I have much more on the Cavs and that loss — and whether it’s time for concern — in my latest Dribbles, which you can check out here.
- Finally, I wrote about Pete Nance and the Charge, who open their season on Friday at home. You can read that one here.