Tier list of potential first round playoff matchups for the Milwaukee Bucks

New York Knicks v Milwaukee Bucks
New York Knicks v Milwaukee Bucks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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Decent matchups for the Milwaukee Bucks

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers sit in the middle of the chaos that is the Eastern Conference standings. They are currently in the fifth spot, just 1.5 games out of second but only two games ahead of the play-in. Cleveland technically could still finish anywhere from second in the East to eighth.

Milwaukee and Cleveland split the season series 2-2, and the Cavs have always presented a challenge for the Bucks with the defenders they have to throw at Giannis Antetokounmpo when healthy. Having two big bodies in Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley allows them to match the Bucks' size in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez, which could force the Bucks into more outside shots.

Cleveland doesn't play particularly fast, with the ninth-longest average time to shoot, but they do move the ball well, ranking third in assist percentage. Donovan Mitchell is a potentially bad matchup, as he has averaged 30 points per game in four games against the Bucks this season.

Overall, the Cavs would not be the best matchup with their size, but they also wouldn't be the worst matchup. Like the teams already mentioned, they also have struggled against good teams all year, going 19-26 against teams at or above .500 and 27-7 against everyone else.

Miami Heat

While once again not having an overly impressive regular season, the Heat are always a scary team to face in the playoffs, as the Bucks know very well. Miami appears to be headed for a spot in the play-in tournament, meaning the Bucks would only face them if Milwaukee finishes as the two seed and the Heat win their first play-in game to get the seven seed.

Once again, there doesn't appear to be anything very threatening about this Heat team on paper. They are just 22nd in fast break points and have the second-longest average time to shot, so they don't push the pace a ton. And they are another team in the East that has feasted on below-average teams, going 26-9 against teams with a losing record and only 17-26 against everyone else.

But the problem with the Heat is that they are a postseason team. They have the best coach in the game in Erik Spoelstra, a playoff riser in Jimmy Butler, a defender capable of holding his own against any big in Bam Adebayo, and several shooters who can get red hot at any moment.

No matter how unimpressive they seem, this is a team that is hard to ever take lightly. The coaching advantage that Miami has is extremely scary in a playoff series, and of course, you can never count out Jimmy Butler.