Bucks

It’s Pat’s Turn for Postseason Praise

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The Milwaukee Bucks have done it.

The Deer have won the Eastern Conference. All the chatter of being a good regular-season team but a subpar playoff team has been silenced.

The contributions of many players have been highlighted by the national media, who are giving Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday their flowers.

Rightfully so.

But others have been talked about as well, like Bobby Portis, who had a standout Game 5 vs. Atlanta in the Eastern Conference Finals along with Brook Lopez.

One man, however, has been completely ignored despite consistent and timely contributions.

Pat Connaughton.

Key plays in key moments

Connaughton has made some key plays for Milwaukee in its playoff run to the franchise’s first NBA Finals in 47 years. He was momentous for the Bucks in Game 7 against the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Just a few key plays to mention:

  1. A three-pointer when it looked like Brooklyn was going to pull away early up 9, Connaughton drains a 3.
  2. Ditto moments later.
  3. Connaughton buries a three in the fourth quarter to pull Bucks within 79-77.
  4. Key tip-out offensive rebound after a missed Giannis free throw in a tie game. Holiday hit a three to follow to put the Bucks up 104-101.

Connaughton was at it again against Atlanta in the Eastern Conference Final clincher. The Bucks saw a 20-point lead cut in half with 6 1/2 minutes left, when that man — Connaughton — buried a triple from the right corner to put the Bucks up 13. This gave the Bucks a 115-102 lead with roughly six minutes left.

Connaughton finished with 13 points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench.

Connaughton has filled in for DiVincenzo

Let’s face it. Not many people thought Pat Connaughton deserved the contract he received in the offseason.

But boy has he earned it this year.

What makes his play even bigger is the absence of Donte DiVincenzo, who suffered a season-ending injury Game 3 against Miami in the opening round of the playoffs. Perimeter defense and rebounding are a few things DiVincenzo does well– Pat has filled in admirably.

Against Atlanta, Connaughton had a pair of eight-rebound games and shot 53.7 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three. He averaged 7.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game for the series. It seemed uncertain who would fill Donte’s shoes, but Connaughton’s play earned him the extended tick. In the three series, Connaughton’s minutes per have have gone from 17.3 to 20.5 to 25.2.

With Giannis being out it has been imperative for each player from Khris Middleton to Jeff Teague to step up. Quietly Connaughton has given quality minutes to the Bucks all postseason.

Going forward

No matter if Giannis is playing every game of the NBA Finals or not, or that the Bucks are underdogs in their first finals since 1974, Connaughton will continue to garner pivotal assignments. With DiVincenzo out for the year, expect to see Connaughton playing in crunch time with his rebounding ability.

The Bucks find themselves in the NBA Finals and it took everyone. Some guys have gotten props and flowers.

Pat Connaughton hasn’t received much.

Well he hasn’t received accolades from others, we need to respect what Pat-Con has meant to this Bucks playoff run.

Connaughton’s propensity for making big plays in big moments is a big reason the Bucks have a chance for the franchise’s first NBA Championship in 50 years.

Follow us on Twitter @BucksLead for the latest Bucks news and insight. 

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About Mitchell Skurzewski

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