Are they on the cusp of their playoff breakthrough?

Every decision, addition, and tactical change we’ve seen throughout the Milwaukee Bucks season has been made based on what’s come before this year.

The story is familiar to all Bucks fans at this point. Back-to-back regular seasons where the Bucks climbed to the top seed in the East and won the league’s best record have given way to scathing playoff meltdowns in each of the past two years. An identity crisis unfolded in the last offseason as the Bucks plunged into an offseason that hinged on improving their roster and the important decision by Giannis Antetokounmpo that ultimately saw him sign his supermax extension forward. the start of the season.

That vision continued into the regular season as Milwaukee added to its core identity, although it wasn’t as transparent as any Bucks fan would like.

For all of this, however, the vision and evolution presented by the Bucks as an organization certainly came to fruition in the Bucks’ first round at the Miami Heat. Going through the very team that dismantled them in last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals, the Bucks got their revenge with a quick and decisive series victory over the Heat nearly nine months after their collapse. of the playoffs in the bubble.

Ask Bucks forward Khris Middleton, however, and the Bucks’ heat sweep was as much about the experiences and lessons the Bucks have learned in the playoffs over the past few years like Yahoo! Vincent Goodwill from sport relayed:

“Every year you find experience. Learn from it, ”Middleton said. “But you don’t bring the past of loss or revenge. This series had nothing to do with last year at all. They were the best team last year, this year I think we were the best team.

Past playoff experiences and failures sharpened the Milwaukee Bucks

That statement doesn’t come out of nowhere as this is the Bucks’ fifth consecutive playoff appearance. While this ties together different eras and iterations of the Bucks roster and coaching staff, the pillars that remain, namely Antetokounmpo and Middleton, have seen it all as Milwaukee ascended to contender status on the World’s Watch. ‘Head Coach Mike Budenholzer.

Again, a lot has changed from when Antetokounmpo and Middleton argued against the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs and when the Bucks looked to end their playoff series.

All of this, however, has been a natural progression for the Bucks as they have added talent to their roster and generally moved in the right direction to rack up those critical postseason experiences. This was obviously not done without errors and without difficulties along the way.

Sure, sending the Heat out like the Bucks did in four quick games is a good start, but they did it knowing that bigger tests were on the horizon. That will come as early as the conference semifinals where they will likely end up against the loaded team Brooklyn Nets, who currently hold a 3-1 lead over the exhausted Boston Celtics heading into Game 5 of this series on Tuesday.

Still, the Bucks have been tested in combat by their playoff experiences. and their goal and mission for playoff success is bigger than ever as Budenholzer recently told The Associated Press’s Tim Reynolds:

“Certainly this group is looking forward to the playoffs,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. “All the teams that go against each other this time of year, they understand what it takes to win. And you have to take it to another level, both mentally and physically. I think the group is preparing for it. I think their concentration is good. It’s all part of what makes us hopefully prepared and have an edge and have the focus you need at this time of year.

It remains to be seen whether the Bucks can pull together the lessons they’ve learned from their past playoff experiences and put them into practice against what will be their biggest test. But as they say, what happened is a prologue.

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About Marc Womack


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