Bucks likely to be under interim coach again vs. Pelicans


The Milwaukee Bucks are 1-1 since firing head coach Adrian Griffin on Tuesday.

Their transition continues with a home game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night as both teams complete a back-to-back set.

The Bucks have had three head coaches in less than week. Assistant coach Joe Prunty replaced Griffin as Milwaukee beat the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday and lost a rematch Friday.

He reportedly will coach the team against New Orleans even though the organization announced Friday night that it had hired Doc Rivers as Griffin’s permanent replacement.

The roller-coaster ride in recent days belies a team that owns the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.

“You never know what’s going to happen in the league,” said forward Bobby Portis, who had 12 points and eight rebounds in Milwaukee’s 112-100 loss on Friday. “It’s an 82-game stretch. Some days are going to be better than others. Part of being a pro is you have to be able to adjust really fast to whatever is thrown at you. You just have to lock in and do your job.”

On Friday, Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo fell one assist short of what would have been his fourth triple-double in five games, finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds. But the Bucks’ offense went stagnant in the second half, scoring just 43 points.

“We didn’t make some shots that sometimes we do make,” Prunty said. “We maybe needed to move the ball a little bit more to get cleaner looks.”

The Pelicans finished 2-2 on a homestand that concluded with a 107-83 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. New Orleans played without leading scorer Zion Williamson (left foot bone contusion), whose status for Saturday was uncertain.

“Our offense really hurt us,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “If you turn the ball over 20 times (leading to 22 points), it’s hard to make up for that … especially when we’re down (Williamson).

“We have to be better, and our game plan discipline has to be better. I thought our defense was solid. We played hard defensively, but we didn’t give ourselves a chance for the offense.”

New Orleans continued a recent trend of inconsistent offense. Williamson had a career-high 11 of the Pelicans’ franchise-record 41 assists as the Pelicans set another franchise record for points in a game in a 153-124 victory against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday.

“The way we played (against Utah) was different,” New Orleans guard CJ McCollum said after the Oklahoma City game. “Zion had the ball out and pushed the tempo. We played through him a lot, but he doesn’t play tonight. It is just a different game and we need to be better.”

The Pelicans started the homestand by making a franchise-record 25 3-pointers in a 132-112 victory against the Charlotte Hornets on Jan. 17, then shot a woeful 23.8 percent on 3-point attempts two nights later in a 123-109 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

New Orleans is beginning a four-game road trip that continues Monday against the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics. The Pelicans will play eight of their next nine games on the road.

–Field Level Media

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