Breaking down the Milwaukee Bucks’ recipe to win an NBA Championship

Jul 14, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 14, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

If there is anything to learn from the 2021 NBA Finals, it’s that winning a title is extremely hard. Everything has to go exactly your way to win an NBA championship.

This Milwaukee Bucks team has to face every obstacle head on and not blink. The recipe includes pure luck, winning chess matches, having momentum changing performances go the team’s way, mental toughness, and handling pressure. Your greatest weakness can be turned against you in a blink of an eye and with every injury, your  greatest strength can turn to weaknesses. Nothing ever goes to plan in sports.

More from Bucks News

This can be true with every injury that has happened to cause the attrition of depth we’ve seen during these playoffs. It’s already happened in the case of Donte DiVincenzo and nearly Giannis Antetokounmpo and it was certainly the case for multiple Bucks opponents over the course of this run.

Another aspect that can make winning a championship so difficult is the pure chess match of the game. You have at least four games to figure out your opponent’s weaknesses.

Not every game will be the same, though, because the opposition is doing the same to you. Each team is trying to outsmart the other in a way that would make any chess player salivate. It’s a battle of the minds that can only be won through a physical battle. It all comes down to who adjusts and performs the best.

This is exactly how the Bucks’ Conference Finals series with the Hawks played out with Milwaukee going from drop coverage to switching everything and creating havoc against a team that couldn’t compete with the Bucks’ size, causing obvious mismatches. Of course, the injury to Trae Young was glaring and it was as big of a reason why the Hawks were slowed down by the Bucks’ defensive evolution and use of different strategies to get past Atlanta.

The Milwaukee Bucks have all of the ingredients to win an NBA championship.

At this point, all the chips have been pushed to the table, no tricks left. It all just comes down to who has the better hand. No one knows until after the game has been won.

Of course, the cards can relate to players and which ever team has the better players usually wins. Although, that isn’t always the case. There have been multiple times when Lebron James has lost in the finals to players who are less talented than him. In this case, NBA basketball is different than poker. It all comes down to pure performance and decision-making. Now what makes the NBA Finals championship so difficult, is the pure pressure that it creates.

Each team has finally made it to the final round, nowhere to go from here. Winning an NBA championship can mean that you have climbed the mountain and no one can take it away. Losing can lead to tremendous heartbreak after coming so close but simply having to concede to making it to the Finals.

That is certainly true of this series between the Bucks and the Suns where victories have increasingly been made in the margins and down the stretch of games.

When these teams have faced off against one another, each play turns into Isaac Newton’s third law of motion. Every action causes a reaction to occur. Every single pass can lead to a make or a turnover that creates momentum for either team.

Giannis Antetokounmpo coming up one of the biggest blocks in NBA history  on Deandre Ayton late in Game 4 of this series could have very well won and evened up the series for the Bucks. Without that block, the Suns might win that game to cause a 3-1 series lead for the Suns going into Game 5 at Phoenix and making a hole that much more insurmountable for Milwaukee.

When the Bucks were down by 16 early in the first quarter of Game 5, Jrue Holiday kept the team afloat with 18 points in the first half and helping create a 19-point swing going into halftime. This caused the Suns to panic under the pressure while the Bucks confidently rose to the occasion.

More than any sport, the game is affected by every momentum-inducing moment of an entire game. A lead can practically vanish by a single epic play that causes the opponent to give into the moment. When Devin Booker was driving into the lane to most likely take the lead within the final 30 seconds of Game 5 as the Bucks were running out of gas down the stretch, it seemed like it was all over. It would have been over, if not for Jrue Holiday’s robbery and alley-oop to Antetokounmpo.

This leads to the final pressure point of handling success. What does a team do when they are at a point where they don’t have their backs against a wall? Does the team wait and play with their food, or do they get the job done on the day that it should get done?

Sometimes it doesn’t matter what they want. The other team could simply be more hungry to win that game and lead to a Game 7. Other times, the pressure of seeing the Larry O’Brien trophy can be too much for that team to handle.

This is where pure mental toughness comes in. The players have to come in, want it, do the work, and take the trophy for themselves. Without the mental toughness, it would be so easy for the Bucks to lose back in the first round against Miami after losing DiVincenzo, to the Nets after falling down in a 2-0 hole, to the Hawks after losing Giannis during Game 4 or to the Suns after going down 2-0 in the Finals.

For the Bucks, they have learned their lessons and built this mental toughness from all the experience of losing in previous playoff series. From losing to Toronto after going up 2-0 in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals to getting pounded by the Heat during last year’s Conference Semifinals in the bubble, Milwaukee isn’t letting anything bring them down.

It all starts with their leader in Antetokounmpo, who has simply learned his lessons from previous mistakes and has built a wall of his own — this time in his mind — that is able to remove any mental hurdle that is blocking his way between himself and his goal. He is simply on a mission and no one can stop him. Antetokounmpo is honed in on the moment, staying in the present and the task at hand.

After looking back at all the chess matches, momentum defining performances, mental toughness and pure luck, it can be understood why players react the way they do to winning the NBA Finals championship and hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy. They beat every possible obstacle that is imaginable to win it all.

Next. Bucks preach business as usual going into Game 6 of NBA Finals. dark

Every Milwaukee Bucks fan can learn from Giannis and enjoy the moment. This is a wonderful time to be a Milwaukee Bucks fan. Enjoy the ride for what it is, a recipe for success.