Milwaukee Bucks: Why did they want to see the Miami Heat in playoffs?

Dec 30, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA (Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 30, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA (Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports) /

The pressure is on the Milwaukee Bucks going into their fifth consecutive playoff run.

That pressure only mounts on the Bucks on the verge of their playoff rematch with the Miami Heat, the very team that ended the Bucks’ 2019-20 season in explosive season down in the bubble. The ramifications to that loss led to all of the personnel and tactical changes we’ve seen the Bucks undergo dating back to last offseason and all throughout this 2020-21 campaign.

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Now all of those changes will be put to the test against a Heat team that is looking to write another Cinderella-type run to the NBA Finals once again. Of course, it didn’t have to be this way for the Bucks, given that the Bucks’ 122-108 victory over the Heat last weekend played a big hand in setting up the rematch between the two sides.

But according to Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry, who recently made an appearance on CNBC’s Halftime Report, that was all according to plan. Hat tip to Dave Hyde of the Sun Sentinel for putting together the interchange between Lasry and host Scott Wapner:

"“Did you really want this first-round matchup with Jimmy Buckets & Co.?” CNBC host Scott Wapner said.“Yes, I did,” Lasry said.“Right,” Wapner said.“No, no, no, we did,” Lasry said. “And you can see that we did and the reason why is because when we played the Heat, we played our guys. We didn’t do what a lot of other teams have done, which is sit all their guys. We played our guys to make sure — we wanted to send a message. I think that message has been received. I think it’ll be a great matchup for us.”"

The Milwaukee Bucks are confident they won’t have a repeat playoff performance against the Miami Heat

Whether the message the Bucks were making towards the Heat will result in series victory in the first round remains to be seen. Yet they’ve made all of these changes with revenge on their mind as they get set to face the Heat in the playoffs for the second straight year.

In doing so, though, the Bucks have made their path that much harder to get out of the East and book their first trip to the NBA Finals in 47 years. The Bucks know they have to get through the Heat to reach the Conference Semifinals and will likely face up against the likes of Brooklyn Nets and then the Philadelphia 76ers if they make it as far as the Conference Finals.

That’s quite the gauntlet the Bucks will potentially face if the everything goes chalk, even in a season and title race that’s more wide-open due to the circumstances surrounding this season. And with a lot riding on this playoff run after the Bucks have locked in their core of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, all eyes are pointing towards Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer and being able to put everything together or else we could see his time in Milwaukee come to an end.

Milwaukee Bucks: 3 advantages in first round series against Miami Heat. dark. Next

Still, the Bucks can only take one series at a time and they know first-hand that the Heat will give them all and even more than can handle. Saturday will be the first glimpse of whether the Bucks will be prepared for it all this time around.