In a game that had no meaning for playoff seeding, Mike Budenholzer decided to rest every starter and a few key reserves. The result? A 118-112 loss to the Chicago Bulls in the regular season finale.
The Bucks knew prior to tipoff that they’d be the No. 3 seed no matter what after Brooklyn won earlier tonight.
There wasn’t much to play for tonight, but I do think it was important to get the entire bench (minus the top 2-3 reserves) some important minutes heading into the playoffs. It was actually entertaining to watch the guys who rarely play get plenty of run in this game.
Jordan Nwora led the Bucks in scoring with 34 points and also grabbed 14 rebounds.
Elijah Bryant made his NBA debut after signing with the Bucks after playing the last two years in Israel for Maccabi Tel Aviv. Bryant scored 16 points and had 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 31 minutes.
I think Nwora and Bryant will be really good bench pieces for the Bucks next season.
Now the fun begins.
The Bucks will enter the playoffs as the 3-seed. Their first round opponent will be the 6-seed Miami Heat, the same team that knocked the Bucks out of the playoffs in the second round last season in the bubble.
The only question is: Will game 1 be on Saturday or will it be on Sunday?
I do feel better about playing the Heat this year compared to last year. Reasons for optimism: Bucks added Jrue Holiday. Miami doesn’t have Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk on their team this year, who killed Milwaukee last year. Giannis has a few more tools to work with this year compared to last year.
Will this be the year the Bucks finally win a series in six?