Mike Budenholzer vindicates himself in the playoffs

The Bucks coach has dispelled doubts about his ability to lead an aspiring ring team after trailing the Celtics and advancing to the Eastern Conference finals.

The Bucks are in the Eastern Conference finals. The Milwaukee team has overwhelmed the Celtics in a way that few expected and have been planted in the penultimate round of the playoffs for the first time since 2001. It has been raining ever since. In that year, a team that had in its ranks players like Ray Allen or Sam Cassell and who was trained by George Karl gave up in the seventh game against the Allen Iverson and Larry Brown Sixers.

Now things are fine different Although at that time, the East was more open than ever, now, and especially after the series against the Celtics, the Bucks are favorites to reach the Finals. They would be the first since 1974, when Kareem Abdul Jabbar was the leader of the team. Almost nothing for a team that has lived an odyssey in the last fifteen years, but has now found the last of his shoe and can reach the championship.

One of the reasons for the success of these Bucks falls on the shoulders of Mike Budenholzer. The technician, belonging to the Popovich school, has claimed responsibility in the present playoffs. After the first duel in Milwaukee and ended with exhibition and victory of the Celtics, we talked a lot about Brad Stevens. Of his good work in the final phase and the ability he has to make his team competitive in the post season despite not signing good regular seasons. In addition, we compared it with Budenholzer, which a priori seemed to be the opposite. A man capable of doing regular big seasons but who was shocked at the moment of truth. The conclusions at the end of the series are very different, so to deny it.

So Stevens is not particularly marked after the elimination of the Celtics (all eyes have been placed on Irving) , the technician of the Bucks has come out reinforced and claimed of this round. After the first game, he managed to strengthen his own morally, introduced Mirotic in the initial quintet to the detriment of Sterling Brown and took the second match of the tie.

But the thing did not stop there. Milwaukee then took two consecutive duels at the Garden, an almost impregnable fort in recent years and to which Boston came with a record of 12-1 between the final phase of a year ago and this season. The last time a team had managed to win two straight at the Celtics' playoffs had been the LeBron Cavaliers (always LeBron) in 2017. And the Bucks did it in a comfortable way to finish in the fifth game with another exhibition and without giving practically possibilities to their rivals.

Nobody (or very few) expected this. In the same way that fans thought that the Celtics would put the direct in the final phase, many also believed that the Bucks, given the history of their coach, could crash at the important time of the year. More even when Marcus Brogdon was injured and they saw some difficulties in the regular season, especially in the victory of the Sixers on their court. Then they recovered, but the injury of the escort and that only plan of the technician raised doubts. The shortcomings of this type of equipment come to light in the qualifying rounds, and the Bucks would have their first big test against Boston, elimination that was expected even despite the 4-0 with which they solved the first round against the Pistons .

But it has not been like that. It is clear that Budenholzer is not the Budenholzer of the Hawks. A team that was also very solid in the regular season, but was not able to make the cut in the final phase, special mention to the 2015 conference final, in which they were run over by the Cavs (again LeBron) without the technician knew or would like to change his way of playing during the four games that lasted that round.

Things have changed. Not only the ability to play without Brogdon, essential throughout the year, but also to recover mentally Antetokounmpo (which has become one of the best players in the league) after a first duel in which he ended up deranged. In addition, he has managed to stop Kyrie Irving in defense to leave the base in the worst numbers of his career in the playoffs, find solutions in attack after the first game, end the second unit of the Celtics (nor the return of Smart has changed the course of the series) and, finally, give a master class of how to lead a qualifying round to one of the most promising coaches that there is right now in the NBA.

Now comes the last big test before the goal: the Finals . The Bucks will have to overcome the Raptors or the Sixers, and are, as seen, favorites to do so.Not only because of the level of Anteto, nor for the 60 victories in the regular season (only team to get it this year), nor for the possible return of Brogdon (And Pau?). Now they are also about to finish (over) against one of the teams that everyone was betting to occupy the LeBron throne. The moment of truth has come. And Budenholzer is ready.

Photos from as.com
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