Jason Kidd’s Milwaukee Bucks have blown several big fourth quarter leads this season, a young roster taking some tough losses as they learn how to win. But last night, against the three-time defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers, the Bucks blew a double-digit fourth quarter lead, but rallied with Eric Bledsoe and Giannis Antetokounmpo stepping up to close out a 119-116 win.
Today, Kidd joined The Jim Rome Show on CBS Sports Radio, proud of how his young team stayed together and gutted out a win over one of the best teams in the NBA.
“For us being a young team, I thought we handled it well,” Kidd said, when asked about Cleveland’s rally. “We didn’t panic. We played it tell the end and we made some plays down the stretch on both ends of the floor.”
Antetokounmpo said the win wasn’t just your typical regular season victory, but one that the organization could continue to build upon. That was an assessment that his head coach agreed with.
“I think we did, as a whole, we took a step forward,” Kidd said. “The best player in the world and a team that has been to the Finals the last couple years, so just understanding they made a run, I agree with Giannis sometimes those games are the ones that we kind of gift and give away. And I thought again, we made a stand and got a stop, and then we made a couple plays on the offensive end to find a way to win.”
Antetokounmpo has also continued to take steps forward this season. Kidd, a 10-time All-Star as a player, spoke admirably of the position-less ‘Greek Freak’ and the work he’s committed to his craft.
“He’s come a long way from day one,” Kidd acknowledged. “I felt he could be a guy that could handle the ball when we got there, and he wasn’t quite ready for that at the time. But he continued to work on his game and it was a year later where we gave him the ball and he was excited and ready and he’s just taken off with that. He works extremely hard at his craft. He wants to be great, and he spends a lot of time at the gym on trying to be great. So we are lucky to have him.”
Given the fact that Antetokounmpo is only 23-years old and has a great work ethic, the future Hall of Famer says he can be dominant.
“At some point he can definitely be the likes of the greats,” Kidd said. “And there’s only, when you talk about the best to ever play, there’s just a handful. He works extremely hard, he wants to be in that company. The skies the limit for him. He’s doing this without shooting the three, and that will come. As much as we want things to happen overnight, he’s worked extremely hard these three to four years to get to where he is today and he’s not going to stop working until he can be the best.”