They made it. It wasn't easy, it didn't come early or in convincing fashion, but it happened. The Milwaukee Bucks have made the playoffs this year.
The team clinched after beating the 76ers on Saturday night. The Bucks can thank the Nets for beating Chicago, which caused the "win and we're in" scenario. Had Chicago won today, Milwaukee would have needed Miami to lose in order to clinch. Thanks to the Nets, all the Bucks had to do was win. Milwaukee now has 41 wins, ensuring at least a .500 season. In terms of seeding, Milwaukee can finish anywhere between 5th and 8th. Atlanta currently sits at 5th, and holds a 3-1 tiebreaker over Milwaukee. Indiana is at 7th and Chicago is at 8th. The Bucks own a 3-1 tiebreaker over both teams. Miami sits at #9 and are coming off a huge win in Washington. They have the advantage over Milwaukee with the season series also being 3-1.
As of now, Milwaukee would play Toronto, a team that the Bucks have struggled against in the last couple of years. However, this is not set in stone. The Bucks could play the 1,2,3, or 4 seed.
This is the 2nd time the Bucks have made the playoffs under Jason Kidd. In his 3 years, the Bucks have gone 41-41, 33-49, and are currently 41-39. This year, despite its ups and downs, is the most impressive year in recent memory. This is a team that was counted out when Khris Middleton went down in September. They shocked the NBA, going from the near-bottom of the Eastern Conference to playoff contention. Disaster struck when Jabari tore his ACL Khris Middleton's return. With him out, a playoff run for Milwaukee was once again in doubt. How did they respond? They fought like you wouldn't believe. In March, the Bucks went 14-4, the best in the NBA, with Giannis and Khris leading the charge.
There are still some uncertainties regarding both the long-term future, as well as the immediate future. How will Jabari bounce back? Who will the Bucks face? Will they make it next year? All those questions will be answered soon. For now, let's sit back and enjoy this moment. The resilient, promising young Bucks will be playing in the postseason this year. It's once again time to Fear the Deer.