These four Eastern Conference teams present the biggest threat to preventing the Milwaukee Bucks from reaching the NBA Finals this season.
The Milwaukee Bucks have surpassed everyone’s most optimistic expectations for the team this season. At 52-17, they hold a three-game lead over the Toronto Raptors in both the race for the Eastern Conference and the best record overall. Even after losing three games in the past week and a half, the team has a stronghold on the conference.
This was all unthinkable after the Bucks limped to a seven seed last season and took the Boston Celtics to the max in the first round of the playoffs. However, adding a couple of key contributors and bringing in new head coach Mike Budenholzer seems to have sparked the franchise. Giannis Antetokounmpo is maximizing his talent and the whole team is thriving around him. For the first time in years, the Bucks are expected to win a couple of series in the playoffs.
The first round will be a breeze for Milwaukee, but things will get difficult after that. They are sure to face a stiff test in the second round, but it’s a test they should be able to pass. With the Raptors just three games behind the Bucks, it has come down to these two teams for the top seed in the East. However, the third, fourth and fifth seeds are up in the air.
As of Saturday morning, the Philadelphia 76ers (44-25) hold the tiebreaker over the Indiana Pacers (44-25) for the third seed as both teams are eight games back of the Bucks. Two games behind them is the disappointing Boston Celtics at 42-27.
The sixth through eighth seed can pretty much be discounted in the quest for the NBA Finals, as the top five seeds are the dominant ones in the conference. Given that, let’s rank them in descending order based on the threat they present to the Bucks’ chances of reaching the NBA finals.