You can’t blame fans for getting all out of sorts given the stunning nature of that initial defeat, but you can certainly credit the team for immediately pulling out of any potential nosedive and comically imposing their will at home and on the road. It took Giannis Antetokounmpo six quarters of play, but he’s definitively figured out Boston. Eric Bledsoe was AWOL in the TD Garden, but George Hill was right there to pick up the slack. Khris Middleton is having himself a thoroughly “good” Khris Middleton series. Even Pat Connaughton justified his minute load with a decisive first half in game three.
These are the Bucks as we’ve known them throughout the season, and goodness is great to have them back.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Is the Pride of a Greece That Shunned Him (New York Times)
As Giannis has ascended to the top of the global basketball pyramid his profile in Greece continues to remain complex. We’re all aware of his family’s story, the tales of a young Giannis hawking goods with his brothers on Athens’s streets in order to help make ends meet, and the unlikely path that led from creaky gyms to the NBA.
Up until the NBA draft Giannis was not considered a Greek citizen. He was a child in a homeland that deigned to not recognize him or his family as part of those who “belong”. Suffice it to say, things have changed for Antetokounmpo in countless ways, but much of his community in Athens remains unchanged; he stands simultaneously as a source of inspiration and as one of the lucky few to break through a system and society that kept people like him at the margins.
This one is an adequate summary of the transformation the Bucks have undergone in just under five years, but what it really drove home was just how different Giannis has the potential to be. Not just different on the court (there’s no argument he already is and will continue to be), but even more in the hearts and minds of fans in and around Milwaukee.
While the Bucks have had superstars stop through, their tenures were just that: stops. No one can predict whether Giannis will prove to follow the arc of Kareem or Dirk, but if he chooses the later he instantly becomes the franchise’s cornerstone in my opinion. For those that may balk at such an anointment so early in a career, I present the compelling case that it was almost Giannis alone that pulled this franchise off of life support. If he can bring a championship to Milwaukee in the NBA’s most top-heavy era on top of decades of reality-bending play he’ll go down as one of the greatest sportsmen in history.
Giannis and the Bucks are growing up (SB Nation)
If there’s one thing we learned this season it’s that a dominant team system still needs it’s core dynamo to properly function. The Bucks lost game one largely because the dynamo was erratic where it’s normally smooth. The Bucks took games two and three because that dynamo had already evolved and was picking his opponents to pieces with deft passing, a bit of patience, and unbelievable footwork only he can make look routine. I’m not what, if anything, Brad Stevens and Celtics can do now, and the same goes for much of the league. These aren’t the fall-short-of-rudimentary-expectations Bucks of old; this a fluid predator perpetually shifting its grip bit by bit until it finds your jugular.
This article begins its premise after the infamous early-game ejection Eric Bledsoe picked up on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers. The interaction was a microcosm of the dual-edged nature of Bledsoe’s game. He’s intense and competitive and, at times, can tip into actively detrimental if those twin flames aren’t harnessed properly.
A year removed from his “Drew Bledsoe” series we’re still waiting to see if Bledsoe is capable of mastering his own psyche and contributing to a winning formula. Milwaukee has survived two relative disappearances from their lead guard this series, but continual misfires from Bledsoe will continue to be a cause for concern. Maybe the Bucks will get to the ECF without regular help from the lead guard, but there’s always the risk of being burned by the competitive flames.
Turkish Thunder At Home In Milwaukee (Bucks.com)
Thought this was a fascinating look at the long career of Ersan Ilyasova, our 2019 version of “Mr. Buck”.
Ersan’s career has always had a bit of an “Odyssey” feel to it what with the years spent shuttling back and forth between Milwaukee and Europe, the seasons of routinely high-level play, the trade away from town and journey from NBA team to NBA team, and finally a return to the Bucks this season.
Concerns about just how longer Ilyasova can keep his production at a useful level aside, there’s no arguing he’s been one of the staples of 21st century basketball in Milwaukee. If the return of a prodigal son coincides with a championship? Well, that’d just be a cherry on top.
The Social Media Section
Team podium game is beyond strong
Khris Middleton cracking up after Greek reporter asks a very long winded question to Giannis : "What the shit is this? Is this a question or are you guys just talking about stuff?" pic.twitter.com/t9ltXrvpF8— Heart of NBA (@HeartofNBA) May 4, 2019
We are at the portion of the press conference where Giannis is answering questions in Greek.— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) May 1, 2019
Khris Middleton looks over to Eric Bledsoe and whispers, “what’s he saying?” Bledsoe responds: “I have no idea, bro.”
The crowd highlights from the “Deer District” have been an awesome post-season subplot
I don’t think Sterling did literally a thing but strike this post for all of game three
This playoff run has me wondering what Larry Sanders is up t...
With the third pick in the 2019 BIG3 Draft, 3 Headed Monsters select LARRY SANDERS pic.twitter.com/ueqJQ22RyI— BIG3 (@thebig3) May 2, 2019
The perfect player doesn’t exis...
We will, Nikola. We will.
As we get deeper into the post-season the pace of games continue to increase. The 3-4 day wait between games earlier in the seasons are a thing of the past and now we’ll only have a day of travel to wait between each contest.
Game four kicks off in Boston tomorrow at 6 PM Central, game five will take place Wednesday in Milwaukee, and a game six (if needed) will be played on Friday.
Haha, who am I kidding, this thing is as good as done. My mind is already fully locked into whoever will emerge from the “professional basketball” series being played between the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers.