The NBA All-Star game was very good to the Milwaukee Bucks. Coach Mike Budenholzer had a huge smile on his face as he watched Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton light up the night in Charlotte. There was fun to be had all weekend and the Bucks representatives enjoyed every bit of it.
Those fun and games come to an end on Thursday night, as the Bucks begin their stretch run to the playoffs. (This squad enjoys the game and each other so it doesn’t REALLY come to an end, but you get my point.) A nationally televised game against the Boston Celtics at Fiserv Forum awaits them. (Jayson Tatum opened his mouth and said the Celtics would win the Finals this year and for reporters to mark the date in which he proclaimed this. More or less a guarantee. Yeesh.)
The Bucks’ remaining 25 games features a slew of winnable of games and some tough tests. Milwaukee will face the Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Houston Rockets in the stretch run of their schedule. Tough tests I believe I they can conquer.
The only worry I have coming out of the All-Star break is, rest. This team has shown a propensity to struggle with time off. (Which also worried me in the playoffs, especially in the first round.) They eventually figure it out but have taken Ls in games after time off.
Despite that little bug-a-boo, the Bucks have proven to be the class of NBA over the course of their first 57 games. I see no reason for that to stop. There is no reason for this team to not win 60 games and earn the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. There is no reason for this team to produce a deep playoff run, but that’s getting ahead of myself. (One thing at a time.)
This is shaping up to be a special season for the Milwaukee Bucks and the (unofficial) second half of it begins Thursday. I, for one, cannot wait. The stretch run will prove to all doubters (there are still some) the Bucks are not a fluke, but a legit threat to win the NBA Championship.