Miami is among a handful of contenders expected to challenge Milwaukee for the East's throne, but reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo says his team needs to look inward to find its biggest obstacle.
"I think the biggest challenge for us is ourselves," Antetokounmpo said postgame, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "How hard are we going to play? Are we going to play for one another? Are we going to defend hard? Are we going to be able to rebound the ball? Are we going to be able to make the extra effort? Are we going to dive on the floor?
"It's all about us. It's all about us."
Milwaukee, which is attempting to reach its first NBA Finals in 45 years, holds the league's top record at 55-14. Antetokounmpo and forward Khris Middleton are enjoying career-best seasons despite playing slightly fewer minutes per game than last year.
The Bucks are also getting vital contributions from veteran sharpshooters Wes Matthews, George Hill, and Kyle Korver. Hill leads the Association with a 47.2% clip from beyond the arc, while Korver ranks 15th with a 41.1% mark.
Much of Milwaukee's success can also be attributed to the team's historically great defense. Going into Thursday's contest, the Bucks were surrendering just 102.3 points per 100 possessions, which trails only the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.