One of the most anticipated NBA playoff matchups this season has been set.
The Brooklyn Nets versus the Milwaukee Bucks.
This series has multiple MVP awards, a ton of All-Star appearances, and future Hall of Famers.
We could be seeing the future NBA champion in this series.
The pressure is on for both teams.
However, the pressure is also facing two players in this matchup.
Playoffs bring a higher demand from the players.
In some cases, players can fold, or they can rise to the occasion.
The NBA’s playoff history has had tons of extremely intense moments.
It is all about how the players respond in those moments.
There are two players in this series who are under the most pressure.
Will they crumble?
Or will they persevere?
2. James Harden
The newest member of the Nets big three is James Harden.
Harden pushed his way out from the Houston Rockets right as the season started in notorious fashion.
He stated how the team couldn’t win and had no chance anymore to compete.
James Harden asked if he’s surprised the #Rockets didn’t make a run: “We’re just not good enough..Chemistry, talent-wise, everything. It’s clear..I love this city I’ve literally done everything that I can..It’s crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.” pic.twitter.com/1bbfrytyUj
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 13, 2021
After that press conference, and trade, he must win.
Furthermore, his postseason history isn’t the best either.
There have been several flameouts over the course of his playoff career.
We had the Game 7 performance in the 2018 Western Conference Finals, where he and the rest of the Rockets team missed 27 consecutive threes.
Game 6 against the San Antonio Spurs in 2017, while they were missing Kawhi Leonard, was another playoff disaster.
He finished with 10 points on 2-11 shooting with six turnovers.
There are a few more incidents in the playoffs that Harden can’t seem to shake.
He is by far one of the greatest offensive players to ever play this game.
However, when the playoffs come around, he tends to play too timid.
Harden needs to win this series and win a championship.
The stigma surrounding him as of now is hurting his legacy.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo is under the most pressure because if he can’t make it to the Finals this year; then when will it happen?
The Bucks did secure him for the long-term, but they are still on the clock.
The Nets have a big three that are offensive juggernauts; the likes we have never seen before.
The Philadelphia 76ers have the most dominant big man in the league.
These teams are not going anywhere after this season.
Both of them also finished with better records than the Bucks.
We do not know how long Giannis and the Bucks can be title contenders.
Anything is possible with a small market team, such as the Bucks.
For two straight seasons, Giannis has been bounced from the playoffs.
Both of those seasons, he was the favorite coming out of the Eastern Conference.
Regardless of the two MVPs, Giannis is still trying to cement his status as the best.
He is still carving out his legacy.
Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded his 5th career playoff game with 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in 35 minutes or less. The only other player with more than one such game all-time is LeBron James (2 games) h/t @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/Ty6rQXLLh2
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 25, 2021
The Nets’ big three stars have their legacies etched in stone, with Harden being the only one who needs to add one more thing.
Giannis hasn’t been in an NBA Finals series yet, and the clock is ticking.
If he can’t get past the Nets, then what is the future of the Bucks?