How the Bucks Stack Up Against the East’s Bests

CHICAGO, USA - OCTOBER 6: Khris Middleton (22) of Milwaukee Bucks in action against Kris Dunn (32) of Chicago Bulls during the preseason NBA game between Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks, in Chicago, United States, on October 6, 2017. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Milwaukee Bucks┬áhave been impressive to start the season. Eight games in the Bucks are 7-1. They sit at the second seed in the eastern conference as of November 3. There are only three teams in the NBA with a better record than the Bucks. Judging from just the start of the season, the Bucks finally seemed to have turned the corner. Milwaukee started the season on a seven-game winning streak. That winning streak under new coach Mike Budenholzer is already one game longer than the longest winning streak of Jason Kidd‘s tenure. This is a positive sign for them, finishing the season with home court advantage in the playoffs. Although it is early, let’s take a look at how the Bucks stack up against the projected East’s best after their first meetings.

Philadelphia 76ers

On October 24th, the Bucks defeated the 76ers 108-123. This game was the first nationally televised game for the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks were unable to contain Joel Embiid. The star center went off for 30 points and 19 rebounds. However, everyone else on the team was kept to below 20 points. There were four Bucks players over 20 points, these were the two usual suspects Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. They had 32 and 25 points, respectively. Next up was Brook Lopez with 21 points. Just from the stats and outcome, the Bucks seemed to have a game plan to deal with the Sixers’ style of play. Both teams will adjust for the next meeting but the Bucks should have the upper hand.

Toronto Raptors

The Bucks defeated the Raptors 124-109 on October 29th. The Bucks were without MVP candidate Antetokounmpo due to a concussion. This news led the Raptors to rest their own MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard. Here are some of the fellow writers’ takes on a Leonard MVP bid. This would lead to role players for both teams stepping up. Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam of the Raptors had 30 and 22 points respectively. The Bucks had an even scoring sheet. The high scorer would be Ersan Ilyasova with 19 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Including Ilyasova, there were six other Bucks players in double figures. Both teams were without their superstars so the outcome of the next game is up in the air. This game tells us is that the Bucks bench is able to step up in situations such as this one.

Boston Celtics

The latest game for the Bucks was the defeat to the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden. The 117 to 113 loss was the first one of the season for the Bucks. Antetokounmpo was held to 2 points in the first quarter. However, he got going in the 2nd and finished with 33 for the game. Middleton was quiet for most of the game. Although he did give the Bucks a chance to come back at the end of the 4th. Budenholzer’s defense calls for the player guarding the roll man to drop back. Celtic bigs ran to the three-point line after picks. The Celtics have big men that are able to shoot and convert on a good percentage of those shots. Consequently, this lead to the Bucks giving up 24 made threes. The Bucks will need to adjust for the next game in order to prevent the same outcome.

These results should be enough to convince the rest of the league of the Bucks’ legitimacy. They should be able to compete for the top seeds in the eastern conference. Milwaukee does not show any clear glaring problems to dispute this. The next month’s worth of games should prove to further validate these positions.

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