As the Milwaukee Bucks host the Boston Celtics in game three (8:30 p.m.) of their best-of-7 playoff series tonight, coach Joe Prunty will have to deal with a disgruntled player.
The Bucks level of intensity in the first two games of the series has been called into question, led by reserve forward Jabari Parker.
Since returning from an ACL injury, Parker has averaged 19.5 points and 8.2 rebounds while averaging 31 minutes in 31 games. But in games one and two of their playoff series in Boston, Parker has averaged just over 12-minutes a game.
As Parker sat on the Bucks bench, he was visibly upset about his lack of playing time and Thursday, he opened up to reporters, saying it’s hard to play four minutes at a time and get into a groove.
Bucks coach Joe Prunty said the Bucks need Parker to make an impact. He made it clear that he’s talking more about defense.
“A guy like Jabari, when he comes into the game, be ready to defend, be ready to rebound, know the schemes, know the systems, know your assignments,” Prunty said. “Who are you involved with in a coverage? Is it a pick and roll? Is it a DHO? Again, everybody has to help on the boards.
Prunty made sure to let everyone know that these problems don’t just involve Parker, but the entire team, especially the second unit. But he also made it clear that players have to be ready from the very tip. They can’t take time to work their way into the flow of the game.
The Bucks need at least one win in Milwaukee, tonight and/or Sunday just to get the series for a game 5 back in Boston on Tuesday night.