Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo called for more aggression from the Eastern Conference top seeds following their surprise defeat to the Orlando Magic in the opening game of the first-round NBA playoff series.
The Bucks – eyeing their first championship since 1971 – were sensationally upstaged 122-110 by the Magic in Orlando on Tuesday, despite 31 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists from Antetokounmpo.
Eighth seeds the Magic have not won a postseason series since 2010 but Nikola Vucevic's playoff career-high 35 points and 14 rebounds helped Orlando take down Milwaukee in the first-round opener at Walt Disney World Resort.
The Bucks ended the regular season with the best win-loss record, but Milwaukee entered the Eastern Conference matchup having become the first team in NBA history to have more losses (4-9) in their final 13 regular-season games than they did in the entire campaign (52-8) prior to that.
Amid their struggle for form, reigning MVP Antetokounmpo told reporters: "We just have to play hard. Just make them feel uncomfortable. We were doing it at times but have to do it for longer stretches in the game.
"They felt comfortable. We have to learn from it. Hopefully we can come out in Game 2 more aggressive and physical. Get them off their rhythm."
"There's no magic wand to point and things are going to change," Antetokounmpo said. "You've got to come out, play hard, play even harder, play together and have fun.
"There's no crowd, no fans to cheer you on and give you that extra energy, so you have to do it yourself."
Unlike previous seasons, there is no home-court advantage in the playoffs amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the league underway inside the NBA bubble.
Asked about Walt Disney World Resort and whether being away from home has impacted the Bucks, Antetokounmpo replied: "One thing I'll say is that we play a game or practice and obviously we're in the bubble and are unable to go home. We don't get to be away from basketball, even for a few hours.
"If things were normal, we'd be back home on our own court and after the game, we go home and spend time with our families. Watch a movie, eat your favourite foods and sleep in your own bed. You're just comfortable. Now, it just feels like we're always at work. You can't escape basketball.
"But it is what it is. It's not just us, there's 16 teams in the bubble going through the same thing… But we just have to do our job, go out there, have fun and play basketball."