Milwaukee Bucks: Resiliency has been a staple of historic playoff run

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 11: (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 11: (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Throughout their run to this year’s NBA Finals, the Milwaukee Bucks have learned to take things one game at a time.

Once again, that was on display when they fought back with their 120-100 Game 3 victory over the Phoenix Suns Sunday night in the Finals that currently puts the series at 2-1 in favor of the Suns. The win was not only another display of superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo’s greatness, though that was the main takeaway, but it was yet another instance of the Bucks being able to flip the script just as they have at multiple times over this playoff run.

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As the Bucks had been faced with high-profile playoff disappointments in the first two years of the Mike Budenholzer era, playoff collapses that were attributable to Budenholzer during his time in Atlanta followed him to Milwaukee and created the large cloud of skepticism the Bucks have dispersed this postseason.

They have continued to adjust as series have gone on dating back to their epic battle against the Brooklyn Nets back in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, which eventually capped off in an all-time Game 7 win in Brooklyn that stands among the top of best Bucks victories ever.

That series and that clinching victory has since set the tone for the level of adversity and the Bucks have gone through to get to this point, whether it’s taking the best punch of an opposing team or even navigating the loss of Antetokounmpo, however brief it was. Yet the belief that exists within the Bucks’ locker room, which Khris Middleton spoke on ahead of Game 3 with the Associated Press as he recounted being down 2-0 against the Nets, is clearly still alive and well:

"“Game 2 we got smacked, embarrassed,” Middleton recalled. “A lot of people thought our season was done. We still believed in ourselves.”"

The Milwaukee Bucks continue to roll with the punches over their playoff run

Responding to adversity has been the theme of the Bucks’ season, given the kind of playoff flameouts that preceded this year. Yes, many faces and names have changed over time as has the growing ways the Bucks have played under Budenholzer and yet, the foundation to how the Bucks play is still recognizable to the naked eye.

While the core elements of who the Bucks are and have been under Budenholzer have remained the same, becoming more battle tested and adding more toughness with the likes of Bobby Portis and P.J. Tucker has been incredibly beneficial. And while this playoff run has had its ups and downs, Budenholzer believes his Bucks team is still finding ways to get better with a championship on the line as he told to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps:

"“I think this group is just about getting better, improving, learning,” Budenholzer said. “This group finds a way to win and finds a way to get better.”"

Next. Giannis has never been more dominant than these NBA Finals. dark

Now, more than ever, the Bucks have continued to find ways to keep their playoff hopes alive, all of which has carried them to this trip to the NBA Finals. There’s plenty of work left to be done for the Bucks to turn this series around in the way they hope, but they are more equipped to battle back in a series where things haven’t initially gone their way.