The NBA playoff pairings just got set up and they have already be marred by multiple injuries. Weeks before the postseason started, the Milwaukee Bucks lost Malcolm Brogdon and Nikola Mirotic for the remainder of the regular season. Now, with the playoffs set, it seems like the majority of the Eastern Conference teams won’t be at full strength when the playoffs start on Saturday.
Brogdon is coming along nicely from a minor plantar fascia tear. However, He has only been out a month in what could be a two month process. Therefore, Brogdon is most likely out for the entire first round of the playoffs. If they are fortunate enough to advance to the second round, Brogdon has a legitimate chance to return this season. However, this organization hasn’t won a first round series since 2001. In other words, the Bucks have lost eight straight first round NBA playoff series’. It would be nice to see them at full strength.
Their saving grace maybe injuries on the other side. The No. 8 seed Detroit Pistons struggled to get wins down the stretch. They also struggled to keep Blake Griffin on the court. Even with a playoff berth on the line, Griffin didn’t play in the season finale against the New York Knicks. He was a non factor the night before in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Griffin missed 4 of the final 7 games of the regular season.
He scored 45 points after a three-game absence. The Griffin scored 16 points in a loss to Charlotte. Finally, Griffin scored five points in a comeback victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. That’s why the Pistons decided to sit him out in the season finale against the New York Knicks. But if he can’t consistently play at a high level in the postseason, the Pistons don’t have a real chance against the Bucks.
Meanwhile, the Bucks brought in Pau Gasol to provide more depth in the front court. However, Gasol only appeared in three games before injuring his ankle. He is still not set to return for another two weeks. It will be interesting to see if the Bucks speed up the timeline if the first round series gets interesting.
The Bucks still have Giannis Antetokounmpo healthy and ready to go. This will be the most important playoff appearance to date. Therefore, the Bucks won’t get any reprieve if they fail to get out of the first round. The Bucks have the best record in the NBA. They also have two all-stars on the squad with Khris Middleton shooting the lights out. Yet, the fact remains, the Bucks are still going to rely on some new pieces if they advance far enough. Those late-season injuries may be the difference between an early exit and a trip to the NBA Finals.
(1) Milwaukee Bucks (60-22) vs. (8) Detroit Pistons (41-41)
Game 1: Sun, April 14 Detroit at Milwaukee, 7 ET, TNT
Game 2: Wed, April 17 Detroit at Milwaukee, 8 ET, NBA TV
Game 3: Sat, April 20 Milwaukee at Detroit, 8 ET, ESPN
Game 4: Mon, April 22 Milwaukee at Detroit, 8 ET, TNT
*Game 5: Wed, April 24 Detroit at Milwaukee, TBD, TBD
*Game 6: Fri, April 26 Milwaukee at Detroit, TBD, TBD
*Game 7: Sun, April 28 Detroit at Milwaukee, TBD, TBD