Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal Explains Why He Picks Milwaukee Bucks to Defeat the Brooklyn Nets

Published 06/02/2021, 10:04 AM EDT
May 2, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) drives for the basket against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the fourth quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports


The NBA playoffs are in full swing right now. While majority of teams are still playing in the first round, two teams have qualified for the second round- the Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks.

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After the Bucks swept the Heat and the Nets beat the Celtics comfortably, the two Eastern Conference juggernauts are set to battle it out against each other in the second round of the playoffs.

Shaquille O’Neal picks Milwaukee Bucks over the Brooklyn Nets

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Given how impressive the Bucks and the Nets looked in the first round of the playoffs, this match-up is certainly one of the most anticipated series so far.

Be it pundits or fans, everyone has picked out their favorites. Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal is no different. In a recent appearance at NBA on TNT, Shaq explained why he thinks the Bucks are going to win their upcoming playoff series over the Nets.

“Both teams play fast, both teams can score but one team doesn’t have lock down defense. One team can’t say two or three minutes we’re going to lock somebody down. That’s why leaning a bit toward Milwaukee.

“Listen, three guys in Brooklyn, they will do what they do, Giannis and co. will do what they do. But, I think when it comes time to lock down and your team being in that lock down mentality, Milwaukee has the edge on that.”

While the Bucks have a good core of players in Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday alongside reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Nets have their own big three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. Given the star power at display, it will be absolutely fascinating to watch which team prevails.

How have the Bucks retooled themselves for the playoffs?

For three consecutive seasons now, the Milwaukee Bucks have been one of the top teams in the regular season. Finishing the regular season with the most numbers of wins in 2018-19 and 2019-20, the Bucks were expected to make deep playoff runs.

But that clearly hasn’t been the case. In a system which was fully focused around Giannis, the Bucks fell flat offensively in the playoffs. Coming into this season, Milwaukee knew they had to change a few things in their roster.

May 29, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) passes the ball around Miami Heat forward Trevor Ariza (8) during the first period during game four of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

While the trade for Jrue Holiday might seem like an overpay, the former Pelicans’ guard might be the X-Factor in their matchup against the Nets. With the ability to create offense and lock down other star guards, Holiday will be key on both ends of the floor.

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The additions of PJ Tucker and Bobby Portis is also a big plus for the Bucks. Given that both the players can guard multiple positions, Portis and Tucker add to the defensive depth of the team.

Apart from the players, coach Mike Budenholzer has been key for the turnaround. Coach Bud has made the Bucks one of the most feared teams offensively with elite shooters in the team.

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This Bucks team looks incredibly balanced and has the perfect blend of offense and defense. Given the personnel they have, they might be the toughest matchup available for the Brooklyn Nets in the East. Do you think the Bucks will trounce the Nets?

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Aditya Mohapatra

853 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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