Are the Milwaukee Bucks the only East team that can beat the Brooklyn Nets?

Milwaukee Bucks Giannis defends KD (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)
Milwaukee Bucks Giannis defends KD (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Milwaukee Bucks can take down the Brooklyn Nets in the playoffs. 

There are six games remaining in the regular season before the official start of the playoffs and the top 3 seeds in the Eastern Conference still haven’t been locked in, but there might not be a team that should feel better about themselves right now than the Milwaukee Bucks.

Even though the Bucks have had their struggles this season, between multiple key players missing time due to injury and the team (theoretically) taking a step back this season on the defensive side of the floor, the splash addition of Jrue Holiday has already paid dividends on the offensive end during the regular season and will really pay off in the playoffs.

Holiday’s ability to create for himself and others in a half-court setting will help unclog this team’s offense in a slowed-down postseason setting. I still believe that his true impact hasn’t been felt yet, and we’re going to see it when it matters most.

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But there are more the Bucks should feel good about heading into the postseason – and it’s that they’ve been dominant against the top two teams in the East. Milwaukee is 3-0 against the Philadelphia 76ers this season and is 2-1 against the Brooklyn Nets.

The Bucks are the contender that most have seem to forgot and even though that is likely due to this team’s recent playoff shortcomings, this is not the same team that bowed out in embarrassing fashion to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.

It would be unfair to place prior playoff disappointments on this version of the Bucks. Even though Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton are still the team’s two primary players and Mike Budenholzer is still calling the shots as the team’s head coach, we can’t discount the Holiday element.

Holiday is having the best season of his career while averaging 18 points, six assists, and five rebounds per game on 51 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent shooting from 3-point range. He’s also a handful on the defensive end and fits right in with how Milwaukee can make life impossible for opponents in the postseason.

The Milwaukee Bucks can match up – well – with the Brooklyn Nets

More specifically, the Bucks might be the only team in the East that have the talent (on both ends of the floor) that can match up with the Nets at full strength. To beat the Nets in the playoffs and in a seven-game series, a team is going to have to be able to keep up with this team on the offensive end while pressuring their stars on both ends of the floor.

The Bucks can effectively do that, and we saw as much in the team’s back-to-back wins over the Nets earlier this week. Milwaukee has Holiday that can pressure Kyrie Irving on both ends of the floor, Middleton that can do the same to James Harden, and Giannis who might be the only defender in the NBA that can effectively match Kevin Durant’s length, athleticism, and skill set.

Even if healthy, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll be, the Nets will not be able to overwhelm the Bucks. At least not on paper. And they’re probably the only team, perhaps in the NBA, that will be able to go toe-to-toe with their pure talent on the roster.

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Whether the Bucks will be able to make it all work and follow-through in the playoffs remains to be seen. But, heading into the playoffs, there’s a good chance that the Bucks are the only team in the Eastern Conference that have both the firepower and defensive prowess to take down the supremely talented Nets.