Is Brooklyn's rout of Milwaukee meaningful?

Is Brooklyn's rout of Milwaukee meaningful?

We take a look at the significance of other playoff blowouts

Illustration for article titled Is Brooklyn's rout of Milwaukee meaningful?
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The Bucks lost by 39 points in Brooklyn on Monday night, and it felt like something of a denouement for this current Milwaukee team, which has gone 162-65 over the past three seasons but disappointed in the playoffs.

Is it really meaningful, though? Can a team recover from getting its butt handed to it like that in the playoffs? Let’s put aside the first round, where you might expect some lopsided games, and check out what happened after stompings of 35-plus points in the second round and beyond in recent years.

Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.

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May 7, 2019: Toronto 125, Philadelphia 89

May 7, 2019: Toronto 125, Philadelphia 89

Illustration for article titled Is Brooklyn's rout of Milwaukee meaningful?
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The Raptors took a 3-2 series lead in the East semifinals, and Drake was thoroughly entertained, but there was no carryover effect as the 76ers went home and won Game 6, 112-101, before the classic Game 7 back in Canada, where Kawhi Leonard’s bouncing buzzer-beater clinched the series for the Raptors. The 76ers had a bit of a dip the following season, but surged back to be the East’s No. 1 seed in 2020-21.

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May 20, 2018: Golden State 126, Houston 85

May 20, 2018: Golden State 126, Houston 85

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Game 3 in a tied best-of-seven is always important, but even after taking this clobbering, the Rockets came back behind 30 points from James Harden to win Game 4 in Oakland, then took the series lead back in Houston. While Golden State rallied to take the Western Conference Finals in seven games on the way to a title, it was still another couple of years before the Rockets’ window closed and Harden forced his way out in a trade.

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May 7, 2018: Cleveland 128, Toronto 93

May 7, 2018: Cleveland 128, Toronto 93

Illustration for article titled Is Brooklyn's rout of Milwaukee meaningful?
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The Cavaliers’ rout closed out a sweep in the second-round series, signaling to the Raptors that they simply were not on the same level as Cleveland. So, Masai Ujiri went out and got Kawhi Leonard, and Toronto brought the title north of the border the next year.

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May 19, 2017: Cleveland 130, Boston 86

May 19, 2017: Cleveland 130, Boston 86

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After getting pasted on their home court to drop to 0-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics actually went to Cleveland and squeaked out a 111-108 win in Game 3. The Cavaliers closed out the series with two wins by a total of 46 points, so that Boston win was kind of a dead cat bounce… the next year, the Celtics got Kyrie Irving from the Cavs, went back to the conference finals, and lost again.

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May 16, 2017: Golden State 136, San Antonio 100

May 16, 2017: Golden State 136, San Antonio 100

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Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals had been close, with Steph Curry scoring seven points in the last two minutes to sink the Spurs after they’d grabbed a late three-point lead. After this game, back in Texas, the Spurs lost by 12 and 14 to get swept, and they haven’t been past the first round since.

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May 11, 2017: San Antonio 114, Houston 75

May 11, 2017: San Antonio 114, Houston 75

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Image: Getty Images

This was the sixth and final game of the West semifinals, and the Rockets went big in the offseason in response, trading Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Lou Williams, Kyle Wiltjer, and a first-round pick to the Clippers for Chris Paul. That did result in a trip to the conference finals… which also went badly and saw the Rockets get their butts kicked.

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May 25, 2016: Cleveland 116, Toronto 78

May 25, 2016: Cleveland 116, Toronto 78

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This was the fifth straight win by a home team in the series, only one of which was within single digits. After getting hammered in Cleveland, the Raptors headed home and bowed out for the summer with a 113-87 loss. Toronto gave it one more go with the Kyle Lowry-DeMar DeRozan core, culminating in getting swept in the second round by the Cavaliers, before going in a new direction.

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May 23, 2015: Golden State 115, Houston 80

May 23, 2015: Golden State 115, Houston 80

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The Rockets avoided a sweep in the subsequent Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, but lost Game 5 back in Oakland by 14. Somehow, trading for Ty Lawson in the offseason was not the answer, and Kevin McHale was out as coach after seven games of the next season.

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May 21, 2014: San Antonio 112, Oklahoma City 77

May 21, 2014: San Antonio 112, Oklahoma City 77

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The Thunder did win Games 3 and 4 at home after dropping the first two games of the Western Conference Finals on the road, but lost the series in six games, then failed to make the playoffs the following year before once again going to the conference finals in 2016 with the same top three of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka.

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June 11, 2013: San Antonio 113, Miami 77

June 11, 2013: San Antonio 113, Miami 77

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LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh combined to shoot 18-for-46 for 43 points, while the Heat’s other two starters, Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem, didn’t score at all. The thing about the Heat, though, is that they had James, Wade, and Bosh, not to mention the mettle of defending champs. So, even though they were down 2-1 in the series and on the road, the Heat roared back to win Game 4, and wound up beating the Spurs in seven.

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May 8, 2013: Miami 115, Chicago 78

May 8, 2013: Miami 115, Chicago 78

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After winning the Eastern semifinals opener on South Beach, the Bulls didn’t win another game in the series, and didn’t keep it in single digits until the finale in Game 5. In all the years since, Chicago has only been past the first round of the playoffs once.

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May 8, 2011: Dallas 122, L.A. Lakers 86

May 8, 2011: Dallas 122, L.A. Lakers 86

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This not only completed a second-round sweep, it completed Phil Jackson’s run as Lakers head coach. Los Angeles still had Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, and made it to the conference semifinals the following season, but then didn’t win another playoff series until last year’s championship run.

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May 4, 2010: Orlando 114, Atlanta 71

May 4, 2010: Orlando 114, Atlanta 71

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A rude welcome to the second round for Atlanta didn’t get much better, as the remaining games of the Magic’s sweep were decided by 14, 30, and 14 points again. The Hawks fired Mike Woodson, then had a decent run through the early 2010s, making the conference finals in ’15 under Mike Budenholzer, who now finds himself in the position of seeing that getting annihilated like this in the later rounds of the playoffs generally does mean that a franchise has some major issues to address if it ever hopes to contend for a title.

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Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.