The Milwaukee Bucks have been in every game since the All-Star break. Sadly, this club has been on the losing side of late, going 2-5, dropping them into the 7th seed of the playoffs. During the five losses, the Bucks have given up on average 107 points per game, while scoring 99 themselves.
For this team to win close games against good teams, they must value a mindset of remaining in the moment. All it takes for this team to lose is one poor stretch where they lose focus. That’s literally the difference between winning or losing the close ones.
This time of the year, teams are perfecting their game, tweaking potential areas of weakness. If unable to correct certain issues, the good teams expose these areas like night and day. Milwaukee knows where it must improve.
The Bucks must be ready to compete at a high level from the start of the first quarter and the start of the second half. Teams have been consistently jumping on them early and playing catch-up is just exhausting when it is a constant theme. Truth is, because every game has been so close, this has been their demise.
The city of Milwaukee is connected to this team, we all appreciate the fight, the talent, but we needs wins. Everyone thought this was the year for this team to step up their game, to evolve into the upper tier of the Eastern Conference. I’m not saying they won’t accomplish their goals, they are so close, it almost drives a fan mad. But, this stretch is monumental if this club has any aspirations of doing damage come playoff time.
Milwaukee must go at the very least 4-2 during this time against Houston, New York, Memphis, Orlando, Atlanta and Cleveland. Obviously, they face a tough test tonight against Houston. But the following four games the opposing teams have a combined record of 62 wins and 175 losses (35% winning percentage). If they surrender a loss to anyone of these bottom feeders, they will pay for it in the future. In fact, had they fared a little better the past 5 games it would have given them a little leeway. Look for the Bucks to usurp their will against these clubs and dominate. Then there will be a test in Cleveland. So, take care of business and grab one of the two that you aren’t supposed to win. Before you know it, you’re back in the position that feels good and safe.
On the contrary, stumbling at this juncture has the potential of costing this team the playoffs. Although there are a few games separating the 8th and 9th seeds (top 8 make it), do you really want to go to Toronto or Boston for the first round? I think not. Forget expectations, and play solid basketball. Live play-by-play and seize the opportunity, it’s right at your fingertips. However, we are talking about a franchise that has been consistently losing for the better part of three decades. Can they rise above?
My gut tells me it’s only a matter of time, embracing the moment, being the absolute best you can be for the entire duration on the court. It’s when you maximize being in the moment and embrace it head on, that you start to have successes in these situations. Lets embrace these moments Bucks, it’s your time to shine!