Usually I craft these blogs right after the game. Sometimes it leads to me being a prisoner of the moment. Not very often, but sometimes. So instead of opening the door for that to happen, I let the Bucks season ending loss to the Raptors breathe. I let it simmer. I wanted to go back and watch the game again and really process it. So that’s what I did. Already knowing the outcome, I was able to watch this game and analyze what happened. So what happened? What did I see?
I saw a team that remembered who they were, but a reminder of where they are.
Let’s be clear, it was an absolute beat down for the first two and a half quarters. The Raptors made the Bucks play a halfcourt game. If you have read Squared Logic before, listened to Home Court Sports, or TO:SS, then you’d know how many times I’ve illustrated why the Bucks fail in that regard. (And why it’s a damn shame.) so you have to give Toronto credit in that regard. Then the Bucks started to get out of that trap. Their defensive effort increased and they were able to get out and run. They remembered who they were. After being down 25, they took the lead with minutes remaining. Then came the sobering reminder of where the Bucks are as a team.
After a clutch DeMar DeRozan dunk with seconds remaining, the Bucks found themselves down three points. They had enough time to get a two point basket and play foul and chase with a chance to tie it. Giannis (Who played damn near 47 minutes.) got the ball as he should have. He is the superstar. Precious seconds are ticking away. Now you’re late in the game clock, you don’t have time for a quick two, you need a three for the tie to keep your season alive another 5 minutes. Giannis panicked, went to the basket for an uncontested layup, leaving three seconds on the game clock, and effectively unplugging the life support of Milwaukee’s season. This is compounded by the fact that Khris Middleton came off a screen and was wide open for a three. This was a reminder of how playoff experience is crucial. This was the reminder this team is still young in that department.
The fight this team showed is something to be proud of. I hope this entire squad thinks about this game all summer long. I hope they obsess over the chances they had all game and all series long, and how they let them slip through their hands. This series was theirs to take but unfortunately, they didn’t have the experience to take it. (Plus there’s a guy named Jabari Parker who wasn’t available. Imagine his 20 points per game in this series.) This experience will strengthen the Bucks. This is the kind of experience they need. This is what it takes to become a championship team. You take your lumps, learn, grow, and execute.
So I applaud the 2016-17 Milwaukee Bucks. They could have packed it in many times this season. They didn’t. They fought until the clock hit triple zeroes. Make no mistake about it, the Milwaukee Bucks will be a PROBLEM for the entire Association and I believe that will happen next season. Win or lose, it’s Fear The Deer or nothing!