Here we go again, Milwaukee Bucks fans.
After a dominant first-round performance against the Miami Heat, the Bucks find themselves in a 2-0 hole to the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and things have gotten out of hand quickly.
Milwaukee was blown out by 39 points in Game 2, and it is in danger of being eliminated in the second round for the second straight season. The struggles have put head coach Mike Budenholzer on the hot seat, and WynnBET isn’t very confident in the Bucks’ chances of turning it around as they are +400 to win the series.
To put that in perspective, the Nets have +400 odds to sweep the Bucks and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Brooklyn is a -500 favorite to win the series, and if Game 2 was any indication of how the rest of the series will go, the Nets should wrap this up sooner rather than later.
While Milwaukee’s bigger failure certainly came when it was upset by the Heat last season, Budenholzer needs to get his team playing winning basketball again this series or it is probably time for Milwaukee to move on.
I’m not saying the Bucks have to win the series, but if they aren’t competitive, like last night, then there has to be change made somewhere.
“Budenholzer has been scrutinized for the Bucks' struggles to get out of the second round the past two years, and more criticism is surely coming if there isn't a rally,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst wrote after Game 2.
Windhorst also explained how Budenholzer’s defensive adjustments, which included starting the game in a zone, were easily handled by the Nets and first-year head coach Steve Nash.
Brooklyn may have more talent even without James Harden, but Budenholzer can’t afford to get out coached and watch the Bucks lose in four or five games.
Milwaukee’s roster is essentially set in stone, as Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo are all locked into major deals and the Bucks spent their draft capital to acquire Holiday this past offseason.
Unfortunately, that means the Bucks have to make it work with this core, and if Budenholzer is unable to get them to win more than a game in the second round for another season, his time in Milwaukee should come to an end.