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Opinion

Milwaukee Bucks proving tough in playoffs

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April 30, 2010

After missing the playoffs for three straight seasons, the Milwaukee Bucks find themselves back as a sixth seed. Their opponent? The third seeded Atlanta Hawks, a team that has made the playoffs for the third straight season, and right from the start in game one, showed the Bucks how quickly you lose that playoff experience when you’re absent from the playoffs for a couple years.

The Hawks, playing at home, opened up a 62-40 lead at halftime in game one. The Bucks settled down in the second half and even made a late rally to make a game out of the fourth quarter, but the early deficit was too much, and the Hawks took game one of the seven game series. The Hawks ended up taking game two of the series as the Bucks fell flat in the third quarter, opening up the game for the Hawks to take.

Milwaukee turned things around at home. Dominating on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, the Bucks blew out the Hawks, 107-89 in the third game, and gave themselves some much needed confidence heading into Game Four of the series. Game Four of the seven game series became an offensive shootout with the Bucks prevailing, 111- 104, which tied the series at two apiece. Game Five of this series is Wednesday night, which is being played the same day as I am writing this column.

Home-court advantage has proven to be true in this series, as both teams have won their home game. Even if we were to include the season series between the two teams, the home team has won six out of the seven times they have played this season. Each team has one more home game left, and if game seven is necessary, the Hawks would have two home games left, giving them the tie-breaking edge in this series.

The initial storyline of this series looked to be a huge one-sided massacre the Hawks were putting on, but the Bucks made the series interesting and changed the storyline to be focused on home-court advantage. That has not been the case for the other three Eastern Conference Quarterfinal games as each of three series are over, with the top seed dominating the lower seed. The number one seed Cleveland beat up on number eight seed Chicago four games to one, and will play the number four seed Boston in the Eastern Conference Semifinals as Boston took care of the fifth seed Miami four games to one as well. The number two seed Orlando dominated the number seven seed Charlotte by sweeping them, and will take on the winner between Milwaukee and Atlanta.

Derek Johnson is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.