East Notes: Bucks, Damian Lillard, Sixers, Kyle Lowry, Hawks


The Bucks are sliding into the All-Star break, falling to 3-7 under coach Doc Rivers after Thursday’s upset loss to the Grizzlies.Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA

Star guard Damian Lillard had a chance to tie at the end but lost control of the ball at midcourt. So, the tough run continued for the Eastern Conference contenders.

“I think when you do all of the little things and you do the right things you get rewarded for it,” Lillard said, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “A lot of coaches that I’ve played for say when you’re the more aggressive team, referees reward that and the game rewards playing hard and 50-50 balls and getting those extra bounces.

“I thought tonight we did it in stretches but they’re a young team, they don’t have nothing to lose, a lot of guys playing for their careers on the line with this opportunity and we gave ’em life and they scratched and clawed and got those bounces over us.”

  • Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 35 in the loss. It’s the loss on which he focused. “We are not on track of what we are trying to do,” he said. “I feel like the team feels it. The team feels it. I feel it. And I have now seven days that I have to try to take care of my body, try to rest from this mentally draining season from all the changes and all the things that are going on. Just try to relax a little bit as much as I can, try to take care of my body, try to come back and try to go.”
  • Antetokounmpo continues to deal with right patellar tendinitis, but has now appeared in 15 straight games, as relayed by Owczarski.


Coach Nick Nurse indicated he’s confident that point guard Kyle Lowry will make an impact, even at the age of 37.

Lowry signed as a free agent after agreeing to a contract buyout with the Hornets.

“A lot of playoff experience,” Nurse said of what Lowry will add, via Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “He gives us another ball-handler, backup point guard, whatever, second point guard, whatever you wanna say with that, so we got some three-point shooting, obviously, and got some very good defensive knowledge. Especially, team defense and schematically and stuff like that.”

Nurse added that Lowry’s work ethic should also serve as a positive example for the rest of the team.

“Nobody competes like that guy,” Nurse said. “I haven’t had a player in my entire coaching career that competes like that guy, so that’s the highest compliment I can give him.”

  • The Sixers still have two roster spots available after signing Lowry. Free agent forward Keita Bates-Diop and forward/center Chimezie Metu may be among the candidates to fill a role.


  • The Hawks discussed a trade centered on star guard Trae Young before the deadline, as our Ashish Mathur relayed here.
  • Meanwhile, the Lakers are expected to make a serious run at Young over the summer. (Full story.)
  • Coach Quin Snyder stressed that the Hawks just need to be more competitive following the break. “We have to compete,” Snyder told reporters. “That competing, that’s linear, not linear, not flat. There’s no geometry you attribute to that, we just have to compete collectively. If we don’t do that then it’s going to feel like it does right now.”

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