The Milwaukee Bucks face an uphill battle without Khris Middleton in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics.
If the defending NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks are going to repeat as NBA Champions, they’ll have to go through arguably the hottest team in the league during the second round of the East playoffs.
The Boston Celtics are a team that no one truly wants to play. Even less so considering they’re welcoming back Robert Williams; he should be full-go against the Bucks. But it’s not only a difficult matchup for the Bucks because of how special the Celtics have looked over the past three months, but also because the champs are wounded.
Khris Middleton injured his knee during the first round of the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls and missed the last few games. And the recent updates are even more devastating. Officially, Middleton’s injury has been described as a Grade 2 MCL sprain, which means he’s likely out for the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Celtics.
The Bucks may have managed to survive in the first round against the Bulls without Middleton, but there’s a big difference between Chicago and Boston – and not just geographically.
The Celtics have been an elite team across the board over the last three months. Jayson Tatum is playing at an absurd level on both ends of the floor and this team just keeps coming at you from all angles – both offensively and defensively.
Not having Middleton is a huge shot to the Bucks’ chances in this series. In the two wins against the Celtics this season, Middleton averaged 20 points, eight assists, and six rebounds per game on 41 percent shooting from 3-point range.
In the lone loss that he played in against Boston, Middleton scored just four points on 2-8 shooting from the field. When he played well (and played at all) against Boston, the Bucks won.
Knowing that the team isn’t going to have Middleton from the start, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer should be able to make the necessary adjustments. Then again, that hasn’t been his forte in the past.
Either way, the Bucks have their hands full heading into their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup against the Celtics.