Too Little, Too Late for the Milwaukee Bucks? | NBA Playoffs

Has Milwaukee met its match? Could it be that the prematurely crowned Kings of the East has seen its reign cut short? Through four games we have learned many lessons, but one stands out amongst all the rest-never bet against Kawhi Leonard!

The number one seeded Bucks take on the number two seeded Toronto Raptors with the series tied at 2-2 in chase to the NBA Finals (via Deadspin)

The 'Klaw' led the way as the Raptors clawed, no pun intended, their way back into the best of seven series. As per many seven-game series, the home teams held serve, which means Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks return to Milwaukee Thursday night with a chance to regain control of their destiny and take another step towards the NBA Finals.

As I watched the first four games, I found myself disappointed and thrilled all at the same time. I mean, who does not love watching playoff basketball every night of the week? With such great action in the first two rounds of the playoffs, to say the Eastern Conference Finals were melodramatic is an understatement at best.

Though the series lacked some excitement, one could not help but acknowledge the incredible performance of the Bucks after impressive wins in game one and two.

It seemed as if the Eastern Conference Finals would only be a formality as the Bucks ascended their way back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1971. League MVP favorite Giannis Antetokounmpo seemed to have full control of his game as the Bucks found a way to shut down Leonard and the rest of the Raptors' roster.

Games three and four provided a reality check and have many fans questioning Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee's ability to close the deal. I for one, have not lost faith in the Bucks and feel that this stumble, in many ways, may have been overdue. Having effortlessly walked through the first two rounds of the playoffs, the adversity the Bucks are facing in the Eastern Conference Finals may be just what the doctor ordered.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 26 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in the 2018-2019 playoffs (via

A renewed defensive focus by Toronto has rendered Antetokounmpo useless, which has left Milwaukee calling for someone to come to the rescue. However, it appears that someone has Boost Mobile because those calls were unanswered.

Though Giannis is still relatively inexperienced when it comes to winning late in May, the veteran leadership of the Bucks paired with the experience of head coach Mike Budenholzer will help steady the ship allowing the Bucks to have a chance to knock off the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

The Bucks represent a team of hungry veterans with hope-to-be champions such as George Hill and players whom many might say have something to prove like veteran point guard Eric Bledsoe.

As the Bucks return home, they are going to have to find a way to first combat the defensive strategy of the Raptors and secondly move the ball in a way that allows Antetokounmpo to take control of the floor.

We know what the Bucks are capable of, but we also know the Raptors have just as much to prove. Most notably Kawhi Leonard, who very well could be playing in his last four games in a Raptors' uniform, if Toronto makes it past Milwaukee and advances to the franchises' first NBA Finals.

Kawhi Leonard is averaging 27.5 points in last two games vs. the Bucks (via BroBible)

Game five will be critical for Milwaukee to establish their hold on the series and show their versatility and ability to put points on the board with or without the help of Antetokounmpo.

This series could also go a long way in shaping the landscape of the Eastern Conference for years to come. As rumors of Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, and Kyrie Irving circulate, a Bucks win would position them firmly atop the East. The victory would also force the hands of the Knicks, Celtics, and Sixers as they look to make a splash in Free Agency this summer.





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