3 Moments that doomed the Milwaukee Bucks in 2023-24

Dec 19, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;
Dec 19, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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Bobby Portis' playoff ejection doomed the Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks were short-handed for the NBA Playoffs this season due to injuries to all three of their star players in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, and Khris Middleton. Middleton was able to play in all six playoff games but had an ankle injury. Antetokounmpo missed the entire series, and Lillard missed two games due to an Achilles injury.

The Bucks were already shorthanded going into Game 4 against the Indiana Pacers, missing both Antetokounmpo and Lillard. Just seven minutes into the game, Bobby Portis was ejected following an altercation with Andrew Nembhard of the Pacers.

We will never know for certain if Milwaukee would have won Game 4 if Portis had been on the floor, but it's obvious that his presence would have drastically improved their chances. The Bucks fought hard for most of the game, trailing by only three points at the half. In the second half, however, the team's lack of depth behind Portis began to show itself, and Indiana eventually went on to win.

Portis returned for Game 5, and the Bucks handled the Pacers easily, winning by 23 points. It's a big "what if" whether they would've won Game 4 with Portis there for all 48 minutes, but if they would have, his ejection cost them a chance at being up 3-2 rather than down 3-2 going into Game 6.

Portis is well-known for being a player who plays with incredible passion and emotion. In the playoffs, though, it is crucial to regulate your emotions to stay in the game. The ejection will, in all probability, be carried with Portis as a great lesson for his future playoff battles.