It’s playoff time baby! The Milwaukee Bucks have made it and they have the seventh seed. They play the Kyrie+Gordonless Celtics, but that doesn’t mean that the Celtics are any less scary. The fact that a lot of “experts” are picking the Bucks in the series fuels the Celtics and also scares Buck’s fans everywhere. Whenever the Bucks have had high expectations, they wildly underperform. The Buck’s are so inconsistent and have such great talent that if they can find their groove, they will be even scarier than playoff Lebron. However, it is time to focus on this series ahead and here I highlight the X-factors on the Bucks for this series.
First up: Coaching
Joe Prunty has been performing exceptionally average all season long. Prunty has stuck with Kidd’s “dynamic” schemes on offense and defense and it shows. The Bucks under Prunty post all-star break have not been doing so well. They are 12-13 and have given up an average of 110 points per game. (per basketball reference). They improved offensively numbers wise (104.4-111.7) but their defense lacks in all areas. One thing that doesn’t show up on the numbers is energy and effort. The job of the head coach is to get the team ready to play. It has shown throughout the season in the 1st quarter that the Bucks are not ready to play and come out extremely lackadaisical. We all know that Brad Stevens is an extraordinary coach, so he will outperform Prunty, but if Prunty can get it together, the Bucks will be scary.
Next up: Tony Snell
Tony Snell’s season is one he will soon try to forget. He got the biggest contract of his life and then under-performs drastically. If you have ever watched Tony Snell play, you know that this not who he is. He is a hard worker, great defender, and knock-down 3 point shooter. He has had a roller coaster of a season but it is playoff time and so we need Tony Snell to step up. The Celtics are the best defensive team in the league and the Bucks have struggled to get an offensive flow together all season. Tony Snell stretching the floor and knocking down 3’s will open up the lane for Giannis to dominate. The Celtics can swarm Giannis if the rest of the Bucks can’t knock down shots. It all starts with Tony Snell. The Celtics also have some young and athletic guards who can drive the lane and knock down 3s like it’s nobody’s business. Tony Snell needs to defend like he’s defending DeMar DeRozen all the time. Remember when he held the MVP candidate to 10 points in the playoffs? If that Tony Snell shows up, Milwaukee will see the second round for the first time in almost two decades.
Final: Offensive Flow
I alluded to this in my Tony Snell rant, but the Bucks need a consistent offensive flow in order to beat the Celtics. The Bucks offensive, obviously, centers around Giannis. Giannis has averaged 33.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5 assists, and has shot 54% from the field in total. He has completely dominated the Boston Celtics. The Celtics defensive scheme is one that is hard to break. However, we have split the series against Boston in the regular season, so we have shown we can win against them. Al Horford is the second best player in this series and can disrupt the Bucks pick and roll plays because of his sneaky athleticism. The Bucks must run and gun constantly (Celtics are 23rd in Pace) while controlling the flow of the game and the youth of the Celtics will not be able to overcome it.
The three factors mention here are what will determine the outcome of this series. The talent level of the Bucks is incredible and the injuries on the Celtics will prohibit them from doing any sort of damage. It’s impossible to predict the Bucks, but that’s why I love them so much. Let’s beat some leprechauns!
Bucks in Six,