Author: Scott Reichel
On Dec. 19, the Bucks managed to defeat the Cavaliers in a thrilling 119-116 contest and have gone 5-4 since the big win. Obviously, the win itself is extremely impressive but one has to wonder if the Bucks can truly dethrone the Cavs in the Eastern Conference. To put it bluntly, I do not.
Although the Bucks won, defeating the Cavaliers in a seven game series is a task that no Eastern Conference team has accomplished in the last seven seasons and I do not believe that this Bucks team is good enough to end that streak. The Bucks possess several flaws that will prevent them from being in serious title contention this season.
The Bucks currently struggle heavily when it comes to rebounding. The Bucks are currently last in the NBA in rebounds per game and I expect it to play a huge factor in the playoffs. The Bucks lack an elite rim protector and rebounder who can limit second chance points.
In a full series against the Cavs, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson will dominate the boards and help create second chance opportunities for those knockdown shooters that the Cavs possess like Kyle Korver and JR Smith. Outside of Giannis Antetokounmpo, no Bucks player is averaging more than 6.7 rebounds per game. That’s ridiculous. If Milwaukee does not add an elite rebounder to its roster, this team will get exposed in the playoffs.
People are also forgetting that up until earlier in the week, the Cavs were without point guard Isaiah Thomas, who will play a vital role in the team’s success throughout the rest of the season. Last season, Thomas averaged 28.9 points per game along with 5.9 assists. Although the Bucks slowed down the entire Cleveland offense besides LeBron in December, Isaiah Thomas is a lot better than Jose Calderon. Until the Bucks beat the Cavaliers when they are fully healthy, I am not going to read into this most recent matchup.
It is an impressive victory but claiming that this victory proves that the Bucks are true competitors in the Eastern Conference is just blasphemous.