Coming into the Jap Convention semifinals versus the Boston Celtics, the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks appeared susceptible.
Khris Middleton, arguably their second-best participant, was anticipated to overlook the whole collection with a sprained MCL, and towards a group with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, it appeared just like the harm was a demise knell for the Bucks.
However as an alternative, they responded by getting gritty towards Boston.
Now, the Bucks maintain a 3-2 lead over the Celtics, they usually have performed it not by placing up model factors, however by out-hustling and out-muscling Boston, whereas additionally taking part in smarter.
Merely put, the Bucks are reminding everybody how and why they received the world title final summer time, and the way and why they may achieve this once more subsequent month.
Milwaukee Has Been Successful With Protection
The Celtics have been the NBA’s hottest group within the second half of the common season, they usually obtained it performed with a suffocating protection.
They completed the season ranked second in defensive ranking and first in factors allowed, and within the first spherical of the playoffs, they made Kevin Durant, probably one of many 15-20 best gamers ever, look previous and washed-up.
However within the Jap Convention semifinals, not less than to date, the Bucks have given Boston a style of its personal drugs.
They began by holding Boston to 89 factors and 33.3 p.c capturing in Sport 1, one thing that could be very arduous to perform, particularly towards an excellent group just like the Celtics.
Milwaukee additionally put the clamps on the Celtics in Sport 3, limiting them to 101 factors and 36.8 p.c capturing from the sphere.
In every of the Celtics’ three losses, Tatum has performed very poorly, a lot as Durant did within the prior collection.
Though he scored 34 factors in Sport 5 on Wednesday, he shot simply 12-of-29 total and 2-of-11 from 3-point land.
Huge man Al Horford, who exploded for 30 factors in Boston’s Sport 4 win, solely managed eight factors in 41 minutes.
Many followers have claimed that right this moment’s NBA is tender and that groups don’t play any actual protection anymore.
However these playoffs, and particularly this collection, is proof that these followers are sorely improper about these claims.
Milwaukee Has Made Successful Performs In Successful Time
Many, if not most, playoff video games are determined within the final a number of minutes, and on this collection, the Bucks have made extra huge performs than the Celtics.
In Sport 3, trailing by one level, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a layup to place the Bucks forward, they usually compelled Brown to overlook a layup, which was adopted by a mid-range jumper by Jrue Vacation for a three-point lead.
Then, after Celtics guard Marcus Good was fouled and missed the second of two free throws, the Bucks prevented three totally different Celtics gamers from changing put-back makes an attempt, thus preserving the victory.
— NBA (@NBA) Could 7, 2022
Down the stretch of Sport 5, a flurry of huge performs by Antetokounmpo and Vacation at each ends of the ground erased a large Boston lead and gave Milwaukee a 110-107 win.
WHAT A FINISH 🤯
— NBA TV (@NBATV) Could 12, 2022
These are the gutsy performs that add as much as the largest wins come playoff time.
They are additionally the performs that put world championship rings on fingers.