Pressure has set in for the Milwaukee Bucks as they are currently in a massive hole against the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
After being convincingly blown out in consecutive games in Brooklyn, this team was certainly happy to board the plane to Milwaukee and get two full days of rest between Monday’s Game 2 and tonight’s matchup at Fiserv Forum. Yet, the adversity ahead still remains firmly aimed at the Bucks as they trail the Nets 0-2 in this best of seven series.
Every bit of momentum is currently tipping favorably in Brooklyn’s favor after demolishing Milwaukee in back-to-back contests despite having former league MVP James Harden in their lineup for just 43 seconds.
With their season potentially hanging in the balance facing an unconquerable 0-3 deficit in tonight’s contest, this Milwaukee team understands that the pressure is on them to win tonight’s pivotal Game 3.
With tonight’s game practically do-or-die for Milwaukee, here are three Bucks that are under the most pressure to make this series competitive.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is facing pressure with the Milwaukee Bucks down 0-2
A two-time MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo understands the pressure that comes with being one of the best players to pick up a basketball in today’s NBA. He has been beaten down with criticism regarding his previous postseason failures over the past few years, and the outside world has already pounced on the opportunity to jump on him once more.
It is clear this time around that Antetokounmpo is not playing up to par, particularly against such a formidable foe in the Nets. The Greek Freak has looked rattled at times throughout these first two matchups, playing erratic basketball that has led to some questionable decisions on his part, most notably his ever-growing turnover totals and oftentimes unpleasant shot selection. With his team down 0-2, the pressure is building around Antetokounmpo.
For him and this team to dig themselves out of this hole, Giannis must revert back to the player that demolished the Nets in the regular season by averaging nearly 40 points in those three matchups. Antetokounmpo looked virtually unstoppable, particularly in the latter two contests in May, both of which the Bucks won. Brooklyn’s personnel remains the same from those games that took place just over a month ago, but Giannis has not maintained the aggressiveness he displayed then to elevate this team to victory.
Facing a season-threatening 0-3 hole tonight, the Bucks need Antetokounmpo to silence the criticism being catapulted his way and get his team back into this series. It all starts with taking shots that are tailor-made for him, taking care of the basketball, and knocking down his shots at the free throw line.