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Top 5 Milwaukee Bucks Stories of the Week: Arena talks continue, Bucks become cool again

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

1. It's still perplexing how the Bucks could save their worst performance for the biggest game of the season, but one game shouldn't take away from a hugely successful season that saw the Bucks rise from the ashes of irrelevance to claim a spot as one of the league's bright young teams. (Brew Hoop/Aron Yohannes)

"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."

2. The Bucks showed they weren't ready for prime time on Thursday, but with additional time to develop, some savvy team-building and a little luck, it may not be long before they're ready to make serious noise -- in the first round and beyond. (SB Nation/Ricky O'Donnell)

The Bucks still need to find a big man to develop with their young core long-term. They need to find more shooting to compensate for Antetokounmpo and Carter-Williams. They need to figure out if Carter-Wiliams is even a long-term answer at point guard at all. No one is casting the Bucks' 2019 championship rings just yet.

But there's no denying the future is bright, something we haven't said about the Bucks since the glory days of the 80s. With a 26-win improvement, an incredible defensive turnaround and several long-term building blocks already in place, a first round playoff loss won't meet expectations for long.

3. While the Bucks' big picture focus might be on the future, this past week suggested the present was worth being excited about, too. (Robert Mays/Grantland)

Dudley, who’s 29, and the two guards, neither of whom is older than 27, are the elders on this team. When a reporter suggested Monday night that playing loose while having nothing to lose might have fueled the Bucks’ two wins, Kidd balked. With a team this young, he said, every game is an opportunity to learn. For him, it’s another chance to further figure out his team, and for his players, it’s a chance to get even more familiar with basketball at this level. There are varying opinions on the value of playing — and losing with — young players in the playoffs, but Dudley was adamant that it’s an important experience for players like Antetokounmpo and Carter-Williams. This is their first time having to process information and recognize tendencies while the game is moving at a different speed. It’s an entirely different way of playing. Every possession matters now, and that’s hard for younger players to understand until they actually see it happen.

4. Representatives from the Bucks, county, city and state made "significant progress" but weren't able to finalize an arena financing deal at a summit meeting on Thursday. Still, the fact remains that all parties have major incentives --  both financial and otherwise -- to see a package come together soon, which is precisely why the likes of Gov. Scott Walker, Mayor Tom Barrett, and County Executive Chris Abele made time to be there in person. In other words, fans still have plenty of reason for optimism, even if a deal isn't imminent just yet. (Journal-Sentinel/Don Walker)

"If you're in Rice Lake or Rhinelander or Green Bay or Superior or anywhere else around the state, you should care," he said. "Because by 2017, the hole in the state budget will be $10 million a year for what NBA players pay in income taxes.

"On top of that, the state will inherit the BMO Harris Bradley Center, which will be about a $100 million obligation with deferred maintenance the state will have to take on."

5. Thursday's debacle notwithstanding, Milwaukee's turnaround season and spunky playoff performance has built the sort of local buzz that we've only seen in fits and starts since the end of the Big Three Era. Given the franchise's arena efforts, that's pretty fortuitous timing, too.  (Journal-Sentinel/Gary D'Amato)

It's cool to be a Bucks fan again. It's fashionable to wear green after St. Patrick's Day. The Bradley Center has been rocking, even if there have been a few too many Bull-shirts in the building.

"I've been tweeting out that the city is buzzing," said forward Jared Dudley. "I think for the most part people thought the series was done (after the Bucks fell behind, 3-0). Once we got that road win, there's now a belief that, hey, it's a possibility.

"I think people expect us to win (Game 6). We're at home, huge crowd, we've gotten better. And with that, expectations (grow) and fans come out. It's good. This is big for the city. You've got hotel (business) picking up, restaurants, people traveling. It's good to be a Bucks fan, and hopefully we get a win for them."