Giannis Antetokounmpo not taking Bucks’ 8-0 start for granted

MINNEAPOLIS — The Milwaukee Bucks improved to 8-0 for the first time in franchise history Friday night, continuing their red-hot start to the season with a 115-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Bucks are the NBA’s last unbeaten team and became the first team to start the season 8-0 since 2015-16 when the Golden State Warriors began the year 24-0 en route to an NBA record 73 regular-season wins.

“Great to be a part of it,” Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo said after Friday’s win. “You can never take it for granted. I’m very, very happy to be a part of it and being able to have a team that we’re able to start the season 8-0. But at the end of the day I’m happy that we are building good habits.”

Milwaukee entered the season with aspirations of winning its second championship in three years, bringing back nearly its entire roster from last season for another shot at the title; rookie MarJon Beauchamp was the Bucks’ only active player Friday not on last year’s team.

Even though the team has larger goals in mind this season, it was still able to appreciate pulling off a feat no Bucks team has done in 56 seasons.

“Yeah, starting off with that confidence and feeling like you’re building the right habits, playing the right way, winning in different ways, if it’s blowouts or close games or fighting back,” Bucks guard Jrue Holiday said. “It feels good to be 8-0.”

“We’re just playing our style of basketball,” Bucks forward Bobby Portis said. “Not really worried about the outside noise and not really worried about what nobody else got going on, worry about what we have going on, holding each other accountable and try to be the best team we can be on a nightly basis.”

The Bucks picked up their latest win with a combination of strong ball movement to generate opportunities behind the 3-point line. Milwaukee shot 44.7% from 3-point range and made a season-high 17 3’s, all of which were assisted.

Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists Friday, snapping his streak of six straight 30-point games but recording the 30th triple double of his career. Holiday scored 29 points with eight rebounds and six assists, his fourth straight game with at least 25 points.

Together, Antetokounmpo and Holiday scored or assisted on 87 of the Bucks’ 115 points.

“Passing the ball creates a lot of energy,” Antetokounmpo said. “We were able to move the ball — everybody was touching it, everybody was driving and kicking it, everybody was getting open shots, open looks. And it was fun. Guys were making shots and it was just contagious.”

The Bucks host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night in Milwaukee on a back-to-back in the latest test for their undefeated record.

“8-0 is great, but I’m just proud of how the team is playing,” Antetokounmpo said. “How we’re defending together and how we’re moving the ball. How we’re getting open shots. How we’re being unselfish and how we’re building good habits. Hopefully those habits can carry over to the next game [Saturday] and to the 74 games we have left plus playoffs.”

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