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Milwaukee empathizing with last season’s Brooklyn team

Milwaukee empathizing with last season’s Brooklyn team

Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing the role of last season’s Kevin Durant.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is participating in the position of very last season’s Kevin Durant.
Graphic: Getty Illustrations or photos

It’s deja vu all over again for the Milwaukee Bucks — their convention semifinals are on the lookout eerily similar to last year’s series versus the Brooklyn Nets. To refresh your memory, they were saved from currently being sent packing by none other than Kevin Durant’s major toe, juuuuust landing on that three-level line and sending the game to overtime, allowing the Bucks to place it absent and keep on on their route to their very first finals victory in half a century.

But this time, they are on the other side of the aisle. If there is any sort of sample to obtain in the digital randomness and possibility of sport, I’d say that this year’s Bucks are, in a way, last year’s Nets. They are the reigning champs with a new expectation to dwell up to, and however that wasn’t Brooklyn’s case previous calendar year, they had an all-star crew that was anticipated to simply take treatment of a small-market place crew like Milwaukee. Khris Middleton’s absence is being deeply felt on the court docket against the Celtics, just as James Harden’s and Kyrie Irving’s accidents had been very last calendar year for Brooklyn in the initial 4 and remaining a few online games of the series, respectively.

And just like KD did very last year, Giannis Antetokounmpo is getting pressured to put the group on his back — in the reduction last night, he put up 44 points, when the relaxation of the team blended contributed 51. That is a ridiculous stat — and however, one extremely related to Durant’s Recreation 7 performance last yr, in which he scored 48 factors in comparison to the relaxation of the roster’s 63 mixed. There’s only so a lot a superstar can do to get his crew to victory by sheer will, and KD and Giannis are testing those people limits.

Friday night’s Match 6, in which the Celtics overcame a do-or-die circumstance with a strong ending and a miraculous general performance from Jayson Tatum, will drive a Match 7, just as the Bucks did very last year. To get in touch with Jayson Tatum a soaring star would be a disservice — he has risen. He put up 46 details past night time and, if he proceeds on in the playoffs, is undoubtedly producing a case for himself for that recently minted Larry Hen Japanese Conference Finals MVP trophy. Tatum, who confronted down Durant in the very first round of this year’s playoffs and led his team to a whole sweep of Brooklyn, has his sights established on Giannis as the upcoming superstar opponent to outplay — and he’s on his way to carrying out it, each of them seemingly competing to crack as several data as they each individual can alongside the way.

On Sunday, the Bucks have the possibility to turn the tables, to be the team that ways up all-around their star, that doesn’t contact a toe to the a few-level line in crunch time, to live up to the expectations set last 12 months and go onto the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics are a considerably a lot more productive franchise than the Bucks in terms of championship background, but it is even now been effectively around a 10 years considering the fact that they last took the trophy residence. If the crew can step up around Giannis and aid him end this off, the Bucks have a stable chance to repeat, but if it turns into a Tatum-Antetokounmpo showdown, there is no telling who will occur out on prime.