The Milwaukee Bucks cannot lose their focus down the stretch

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MARCH 14 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MARCH 14 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

After a recent hot streak, the Milwaukee Bucks sat atop the Eastern Conference with a quality three-game lead over the next challenger.

It seemed like the Bucks were going to pull away with that first seed, but several recent missteps have shortened Milwaukee’s lead to just 1.5 games over the Boston Celtics and 2.5 games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers. After going undefeated in February, the Bucks have lost three games in March already. The common theme in Milwaukee’s losses to the 76ers, Golden State Warriors, and Indiana Pacers is that the Bucks had solid leads in all of the games but could not execute and close the deal. Simply put, they lost their focus, which is something they cannot afford to do at this time.

The Milwaukee Bucks cannot lose their focus down the stretch

For the first time in two seasons, the Bucks have a legitimate shot at securing the East’s top seed this late in the season. Of course, they were the third seed in back-to-back seasons. Seeding is not the end all be all for the Bucks, as they won the NBA Finals as a three seed and put up an excellent fight against the Celtics last season without Khris Middleton as a three seed, but if the team has a chance to lock up that top spot and secure homecourt advantage, they absolutely should go for it.

With 12 regular season matchups left, the Bucks’ lead for the top seed is dwindling, so they must keep their foot on the gas. Though the Bucks have shown that they can win on the road, having an advantage when it comes to homecourt would certainly be welcomed. To finish strong, this team needs to keep their focus and close out these games when they have a lead. A loss stings, but the defeat always hurts more when the Bucks lose after failing to execute down the stretch after they had a decent lead previously.

Two key matchups down the stretch will be March 30’s game against Boston and April 2’s contest versus Philadelphia. As mentioned previously, those are the two other teams currently gunning for the top seed, and they will undoubtedly look to gain some ground by knocking off Milwaukee. The Bucks need to lock in and handle business, especially in those games. It would be troublesome to see the Bucks squander what was a three-game lead in the East just a few short days ago.

Hopefully, this veteran-oriented squad can get themselves focused and handle their business over these next few games. Players may rest here and there, as the team is quite banged up right now, but others must step up in their absence. This team knows what’s at stake and how big it would be to head into the playoffs with not only the East’s top seed but also potentially the best record in the entire NBA. Simply put, the Bucks need to dial in and remain focused in these games.

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Stay tuned to see how Milwaukee’s pursuit of the top seed pans out.