The Milwaukee Bucks got back to winning ways on Friday with a hard-fought 110-105 victory against the New York Knicks in their in-season tournament debut. It was a much-needed win for Milwaukee following their embarrassing blowout loss against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.
Brook Lopez played an integral role in Milwaukee’s win, swatting away no less than eight shots in what turned out to be a defensive masterclass for the veteran big man. Lopez was just one block shy of matching his career high of nine swats.
Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach Adrian Griffin’s Role in Brook Lopez’s Massive Performance
Lopez was the NBA’s best shot-blocker last season with 193 rejections in 2022-23. The 7-foot center was off to a slow start this term, though, with just two blocks in his first four games of the season.
Lopez had already doubled his tally by halftime against the Knicks, and he ended up blocking four more shots in the second half as he flexed his abilities as one of the best rim-protectors in the NBA today.
Apparently, head coach Adrian Griffin met with Lopez before Friday’s contest. This led to the first-year shot-caller making certain adjustments in deploying the 35-year-old defensively.
“It’s not rocket science – we need Brook’s size in the paint,” Griffin said after Thursday’s practice, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Griffin’s plan obviously paid dividends for both Lopez and the Bucks.
Brook Lopez Credits Adrian Griffin
For his part, Lopez gave a lot of credit to Griffin for hearing him out. According to last season’s Defensive Player of the Year runner-up, he considers this to be a step in the right direction in terms of Griffin’s relationship not only with him but with the rest of the team as well:
“Obviously I was very appreciative of that,” Lopez said. “I think we have a lot of guys that are very coachable and to have a head coach who’s willing to listen in that regard and talk those things out, that’s great. There’s obviously going to be a lot of that this season.
“Going with the great things that coach Griffin brings to the table, our coaching staff brings to the table, and then the things a lot of experienced guys on this team are used to or know from being in this league for so long. It’s going to be a lot of give and take, feeling things out and that’s going to make us such a great team in April, May, June than we are even right now.”
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