In one of the more stunning playoff collapses in recent history, the Milwaukee Bucks were stunned by the Miami Heat in their first-round series on Wednesday night, getting eliminated from the playoffs in Game 5 after coming up short 128-126 in a wild overtime battle. After the game, Giannis Antetokounmpo shocked many fans by declaring that this campaign wasn’t a failure for Milwaukee, but Shaq stepped in to let him know that wasn’t the case.
Shaquille O’Neal had some successful seasons in the NBA, and some that would go down as failures. And if you ask him, this season was clearly a failure for the Bucks. While Shaq says that it was an incredible campaign for Antetokounmpo individually, he didn’t agree with the notion that this season wasn’t a failure for Milwaukee.
“He’s not a failure of a player, but is it a failure of a season? I would say yes.”
-Shaq on Giannis and the Bucks falling in the first round to the Heat pic.twitter.com/XKRt2GNfmv
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 27, 2023
Many fans agreed with Shaq’s take here, and it’s not really hard to see why. The Bucks were the best overall team in the NBA this season, and even though they were dealing with injuries against the Heat here, they were actually in a better spot than Miami was from a health standpoint in this series. Sure, Antetokounmpo likely wasn’t playing at 100 percent, but both Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo left the series with injuries and never returned.
Getting upset by a Heat team that barely found its way into the playoffs is a tough pill to swallow, and when you consider all the expectations surrounding the Bucks this postseason, it’s easy to see why this season will go down as a failure in the eyes of many. Antetokounmpo may not think so, but it’s clear many folks are in agreement with O’Neal’s take here.
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