Bucks’ Damian Lillard Fires Off Major Warning To Pacers

Damian Lillard, Bucks, Pacers, NBA Playoffs
NBA Analysis Network

One of the more intriguing first-round matchups of the 2024 NBA Playoffs will be between the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks. The Central Division rivals met five times during the regular season, with Indiana coming away victorious four times.

The Bucks will have their work cut out for them as they will be starting the series without their best player, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo is dealing with a calf injury suffered on April 9th against the Boston Celtics and is without a firm timetable on when he will return.

Milwaukee is in a perilous position, but the team has not lost confidence. This is the exact kind of situation that they acquired star point guard Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers for, as they wanted some insurance for when Antetokounmpo was off the court.

While Lillard hasn’t performed up to the level we are accustomed to seeing him play at, you cannot count him and the Bucks out. He recently spoke about the differences between the Bucks now and the regular season when they faced Indiana and why he believes his team will be better this time around.

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“We’ve just been through a lot since then,” Lillard argued. “We’ve had some down moments, and we’ve come back from those moments. Then we get a new coach [Doc Rivers], and then we have a different way about us, different style of play. Just so many different things we’ve learned about ourselves from going through stuff.”

Lillard is certainly right when he says things will be different now with Doc Rivers as the head coach compared to Adrian Griffin. But, based on the team’s regular season results under each, many would argue that the difference is the team is actually worse off now than it was before.

Under Griffin, the Bucks were 30-13 and one of the best teams in the NBA. With Rivers at the helm, the team has been underwhelming, going 17-19 and slipping in the Eastern Conference standings.

Milwaukee lost eight of their last 11 games in the regular season, as they are entering the NBA Playoffs on a low note. They are going to need vintage Lillard to show up, otherwise their stay in the postseason with Antetokounmpo injured could be a short one.

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