Former NBA veteran reveals dark horse ready to challenge Boston Celtics' East reign

Former NBA veteran reveals dark horse ready to challenge Boston Celtics
Former NBA veteran reveals dark horse ready to challenge Boston Celtics' East reign

The Boston Celtics have been considered the Eastern Conference favorites all season. However, the Milwaukee Bucks’ recently improved play has former nine-year NBA veteran Chandler Parsons feeling confident in their ability to challenge Boston for East supremacy.

After a slow start under coach Doc Rivers, the Bucks (42-23) have been rounding into form, winning seven of their last nine games. Entering Monday, they remain 8.0 games behind the first-seeded Celtics (49-14). However, they have shown flashes of being the title contenders many expected them to be before the season.

In Milwaukee’s 124-117 win over the LA Clippers on Sunday, Bucks superstars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard showcased their upside as the team’s one-two punch. The superstar duo became the second pair of teammates to each record at least 30 points and 10 assists in the same game since 1980.

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On FanDuel’s “Run It Back,” Parsons was asked if Antetokounmpo and Lillard’s “two-man situation is settled in Milwaukee.” The 35-year-old concurred as he raved about the Bucks’ newfound identity and team chemistry under Rivers.

Parsons highlighted how Rivers has been experimenting with different offensive and defensive sets. He also noted that Antetokounmpo and Lillard have capitalized on their complementary playstyles, allowing them to fulfill their potential as a dominant inside-out duo.

According to Parsons, if the Bucks continue firing on all cylinders, they could give the Celtics a run for their money in the playoffs.

“This team is dangerous. It’s gonna come down to them and Boston, and it’s gonna be a hell of a series,” Parsons said. “But you’re seeing it’s starting to work, guys knowing their role, guys knowing their spacing, they’re running a bunch of different sets now and they’re looking really comfortable.”

Also Read: Boston Celtics' legend identifies 'biggest threat' capable of eliminating Boston from 2024 NBA Playoffs

Damian Lillard on growing chemistry with Giannis Antetokounmpo amid Bucks’ quest to challenge Celtics for East crown

Following Sunday’s historic performance against the Clippers, Damian Lillard touched on his blossoming chemistry with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Lillard highlighted how most fans and analysts expected him and Antetokounmpo to instantly dominate the league after Milwaukee acquired him in September.

However, according to the eight-time All-Star, his acclimation to being a second option has been a gradual process.

“I think it’s getting much better,” Lillard said. “To start the season, I think a lot of people wanted it to just click and happen right away. But I think any time you put two guys together who have always been the decision-makers, always had their hands on the ball for years and years and years, it’s going to take time for us to learn how to play with each other.”

With just 17 games remaining, Lillard and the Bucks appear to be peaking at the right time. Over their last nine games, they rank sixth in the NBA in offensive rating (117.6) and ninth in defensive rating (109.6).

It remains to be seen if Milwaukee can continue its strong play into the playoffs and potentially upset the Celtics.

Also Read: NBA Power Rankings: Top 10 teams ft. Minnesota Timberwolves and LA Clippers (Week 20)

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Edited by Tristan Rawcliffe
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