Game 6 didn't turn out anywhere close to what the Bucks and most general NBA spectators expected Thursday night. For a team doubted as underdogs the entire series, the Bucks intensely battled back and won their last two matchups against the Bulls, but the third was an absolute debacle to say the least.
Still, young head coach Jason Kidd remained positive and upbeat after his team suffered its the worst loss in franchise history -- regular season and postseason -- as his Bucks put up just 66 points against Tom Thibodeau's club. The first-year Milwaukee coach still sent a heartfelt congratulatory message after the game to his young team for what they accomplished as a whole.
"I wanted to congratulate the guys on a great year, not just a great series, but a great year," Kidd explained after the loss. "They're not a secret anymore, and they have to get better if they want to compete against the best.
"That's it, you move on." Kidd said calmly. "There's no back-sliding, back-peddling. This group of young men played at a very high level. A lot higher than anybody thought they could and they believed that they could win game six. They just came up short."
How bad was Milwaukee defeated? Their leading scorer was Zaza Pachulia, who finished the game with just eight points and three rebounds. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Bucks are the first team in playoff history to not have a player score at least 10 points.
"Defensively, offensively, they were running." Pachulia said of the Bulls. "We were missing shots, and they were making all kinds of shots, so it was hard to stay in the game."
Still, the Bucks in one year have changed the vibe of their franchise with an ownership change, a growing stable of young talent, a new coaching staff led by Kidd and a new logo and look to boot. Pachulia was one of the Bucks' six players on this year's team to experience it all, and he was greatly encouraged by how far Milwaukee pushed the series.
"It was huge for everybody." Pachulia said in regards to the playoff appearance. "I don't care how good you are, I don't care how bad you are. You have to fight for everything. You have to earn it. Especially with the year we had last year, it was a great year for us."
Pachulia also noted how memorable a season this was for the franchise.
"We are at a good point where we can build from all of it." Pachulia stated. "All of the individuals have to get better. The chemistry's going to be better next year with some additions. I'm sure we're going to play differently, with more discipline, more energy, more experience the following year. We're going to remember this. We're going to remember it in a good way, and I'm excited about the future for this team."
Kidd improved the Bucks' win total from 15 to 41 in just his first season as head coach. That improvement alone still has Kidd and fans in Milwaukee excited for what's ahead, and hopeful for another strong playoff appearance next season.
"They're still going to be young. They're still going to be an exciting team next year." Kidd said. "There will be a lot of focus on them. They're not going to be a surprise."