For the second consecutive year, the Milwaukee Bucks have secured the top spot in the East. Led by Antetokounmpo’s 33 points and 12 rebounds, the Bucks rallied back from a 33-point deficit against the Miami Heat on Thursday.
Milwaukee was atop the Eastern Conference last season with 60 wins, but with four games remaining, the most they can achieve this year is 59. Prior to COVID-19, however, the Bucks were on pace to have a near 70-win campaign.
The Brooklyn Nets have a game-and-a-half-game edge on the Orlando Magic for the seventh seed in the East. Due to the Nets’ surprisingly impressive play, they’ll likely come out with the No.7 seed – resulting in a Milwaukee-Orlando first-round matchup.
Despite the increased competition in the Eastern Conference, the reigning MVP explained that it is themselves that are the biggest threats to them winning a championship.
“I think the biggest challenge for us is ourselves,” Antetokounmpo said postgame to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “How are we going to play? How hard are we going to play? Are we going to play for one another? Are we going to defend hard? Are we going to be able to rebound the ball? Are we going to be able to make the extra effort? Are we going to dive on the floor?
It’s all about us. It’s all about us.”
The Bucks are the first team since the Golden State Warriors in their 2015-2017 run to repeat as No. 1 seeds, and the first Eastern Conference team to do so since the Bulls in 2011 and 2012.