Former NBA champion Richard Jefferson reckons Khris Middleton's presence could've helped the Milwaukee Bucks win their round two series against the Boston Celtics in six games. The series could swing either way right now. Both teams have played at a high level, making it difficult to predict the winner.
Here's what Jefferson posted in his most recent tweet:
"If Middleton was playing, this series would have been over in 6."
The Bucks currently hold a 3-2 advantage following their comeback win in Game 5. A win in the next match will see them advance to the next round. However, Middleton's absence and the Celtics' ability to bounce back can help Ime Udoka's men force a Game 7.
Khris Middleton is vital to the Milwaukee Bucks' hopes of winning their second title in a row. His scoring, rebounding and defense make him a must-have player on the team, especially against a side like the Boston Celtics.
Middleton's ability to create his shot, and for his teammates, takes the pressure off Bucks' talisman Giannis Antetokounmpo. Boston's defense has put a heavy focus on Giannis in the absence of his All-Star teammate, not allowing him to be efficient on a nightly basis.
Milwaukee Bucks erase 14-point deficit to bag Game 5 win against Boston Celtics at the Garden
The Milwaukee Bucks managed to take homecourt advantage away from the Boston Celtics twice in their round two series. The latest instance was during the all-important Game 5 at TD Garden on Wednesday.
The series was tied 2-2, and the winner of this match would have the upper hand moving forward. The defending champions showed their mettle by hanging on to bag a 110-107 win, despite trailing by 14 points at one stage.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was once again the best player for the Bucks, as he tallied 40 points and 11 rebounds, shooting 59% from the field. He also hit two crucial 3-point field goals that swung the tie in favor of his team.
Milwaukee will head to Wisconsin for Game 6 with a golden opportunity to win this second-round series contest and advance to the conference finals.
The Boston Celtics have tough competitors throughout, though, so the margin of error will be low for the Milwaukee Bucks. The likes of Jrue Holiday, Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez will have to step up offensively again to prevent the C's from making this a seven-game contest.