Milwaukee Bucks are proving why they’re different this postseason

May 29, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA (Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports)
May 29, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA (Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports) /

All season long, the theme of the Milwaukee Bucks‘ 2020-21 season has been looking towards the postseason.

The disappointment and lingering skepticism of painful playoff defeats will surely do that and the Bucks responded by churning over half of their roster over the offseason as well as making a point to play differently than we had grown to see. Now coming off their first round sweep of the Miami Heat following their 120-103 Game 4 victory Saturday afternoon, these Bucks are showing why this isn’t your same old Bucks anymore.

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That’s certainly true in a very literal sense, considering the amount of roster turnover the Bucks have had dating back to offseason. While the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez all remained, the additions of Jrue Holiday, Bryn Forbes, Bobby Portis and P.J. Tucker all proved their worth in the Bucks’ sweep of the Heat.

Adding that new flavor this time around certainly played a part in the Bucks wanting to take on their rematch with the Heat. ESPN’s Zach Lowe (subscription required) revealed that the Bucks chose not to tank their last regular season game with the Heat that ended up being a 122-108 victory for Milwaukee.

It turns out that would be a more relevant preview of what was to come than anyone would have figured going into the series.

The Milwaukee Bucks conquered their playoff demons against the Miami Heat

Aside from the personnel changes on both sides, the Bucks deployed all of the tactical changes that they dabbled with throughout the regular season, all of which contributed to their destruction of the Heat. Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer certainly shown to be capable of pushing all of the right buttons throughout the sweep and it had to have been vindicating to get through the Heat and one of the most respected coaches in the league, Erik Spoelstra.

More importantly, it’s clear that the Bucks have the right mixture, amount of experience and mentality that is surely needed for a long playoff run. And as P.J. Tucker said following the Bucks’ Game 3 win, Milwaukee is erasing the perception that they carved out after back-to-back disappointing playoff runs.

It’s clear that from their sweep of the Heat that this Bucks team and the weight of expectations that face them has suited them well so far. No longer the top seed in the East that everyone is looking to topple, just as the Toronto Raptors and Heat did in each of the last two postseasons, the Bucks have embraced operating more under-the-radar, especially compared to the likely opponent they’ll face next round, that being the Brooklyn Nets.

Now Milwaukee will have to climb further in their playoff run being without an integral piece within their rotation in Donte DiVincenzo. Along with that, their path to make it to the NBA Finals is the hardest it’s been since the times of Don Nelson, Sidney Moncrief and so on.

However, this is the path that the Bucks have chosen to take going into this critical playoff run and if it makes them more battle tested with greater challenges lying on the horizon, the more power to them.

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The Bucks have plenty more steps to take to reach where they haven’t been in 47 years and their path is far from a cakewalk. But if they’ve shown anything after quickly dispatching the Heat in the first round, it’s that they are more equipped to taking on such a challenge than they have been over the Budenholzer era.