The Milwaukee Bucks headed into the 2019 NBA Playoffs with the goal of replicating the same success they enjoyed during the regular season. In the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, the Bucks showed their dominance by sweeping the Detroit Pistons. The Bucks may have easily won their first playoff series since 2001, but their second round match-up is expected to be on a different level.
In the second round of the playoffs, the Bucks will be going up against the No. 1 favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals before the season had started — the Boston Celtics. The Celtics have one of the most talented rosters in the league — and like the Bucks, they also eliminated their first-round opponents, the Indiana Pacers, in just four games. In a recent appearance on ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Show, per YouTube, NBA legend Isiah Thomas discussed the upcoming match-up between the Bucks and the Celtics.
Isiah Thomas agreed that the Celtics have the advantage over the Bucks in terms of roster depth. If they are serious about beating the Celtics in a best-of-seven series, Thomas advised the Bucks to focus on destroying Boston’s trust with each other.
“The thing that I question about Boston, the trust factor that they have with each other right now is very fragile,” Thomas said, as transcribed by NESN. “When you’re trying to beat a team in the playoffs, the thing you’re really trying to do is break the teammates’ trust and confidence within each other so they won’t be able to execute their gameplan. And when I look at Boston right now from a trust and confidence standpoint, they’re very fragile. And one or two losses could really break their trust or their ability to communicate with each other to execute the coach’s gameplan.”
My deep-dive Eastern Conference semifinal previews for @YahooSportsNBA, followed by my unassailable predictions:— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) April 24, 2019
Celtics vs. Bucks. https://t.co/J2r7tZtXa6
Raptors vs. 76ers. https://t.co/uUQONrp5AQ pic.twitter.com/U2MTWgCe5h
Trust was undeniably a major issue for the Celtics during the regular season. Whenever the team struggled, some of the veterans, specifically Kyrie Irving, were caught criticizing the young players’ efforts on both ends of the floor. Luckily, before the real battle of the NBA finals began, the Celtics had reportedly managed to fix the issue. Though they still need to work on their chemistry, the Celtics have finally started playing like a cohesive team.
It remains unknown if Isiah Thomas’ advice can really help the Bucks defeat the Celtics in a best-of-seven series. The Celtics are known as a team that have the ability to bring their game to another level in the postseason, and the 2019 playoffs will be the first time that the Bucks have reached the second round since the 2000-01 NBA season.