Bucks’ Two Most Important Bubble Games Are the First Two
How much do the eight games for the Milwaukee Bucks matter in the NBA restart? The answer, not much. For some teams like Portland, Philadelphia, Memphis, they matter a great deal. But Milwaukee Bucks will want to set a tone. The first two games do carry some weight in ways that aren’t reflected in the standings. They’re tone setters for who runs the bubble in the Eastern Conference and the NBA as well as spots where Giannis Antetokounmpo has been doubted by his peers. Giannis isn’t Michael Jordan when it comes to revenge just yet, but the dude gets his when someone did him wrong.
Many things happened during the pandemic that it is easy to forget some details. The joke of ‘Remember Tiger King?’ is a real thing. It feels like ages ago. But one thing that did happen was Jayson Tatum and Giannis have some issues. In early April, Tatum said that LeBron James should be the MVP this season and that James Harden should have won it last season. With Milwaukee’s first game against the Boston Celtics, I can promise you that Giannis hasn’t forgotten what Tatum said about that. He will want to make sure the young star knows what the Bucks and him are all about in Game 1.
Then there is James Harden. We all know the story of Harden and Giannis. It is the best basketball player rivalry going today. There is zero love lost there. Harden and Giannis started to bubble (no pun intended) right before the world ended. Harden will want to do similar things to Antetokounmpo, but Mike Budneholzer’s defense continually befuddles the Rockets. Just like with Tatum, Giannis will want to send a message to Harden.
My theory is the Bucks are going to be full steam ahead for games one and two against Boston and Houston. For the reasons mentioned above but also to make it known the Bucks are the team in the bubble. They run shit and are taking no prisoners. At some point, Milwaukee will put their guys on ice and get them ready for the playoffs. But they’re not going to waltz through the first couple of games. Those games matter to Milwaukee.