Larry Bird and Dr. J prevented the eastern reign of a potential Bucks in the 1980s

MILWAUKEE – The Bucks of the 1970s won a title and reached the NBA Finals once again. The Bucks this season have won the most games of any NBA team in the last three seasons and reached the Finals this season.

But don’t forget that 1980s Bucks who won a lot of games and were a playoff spot at an Eastern Conference full of talented teams in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and New Jersey.

“Every year there was hope because we had teams good enough to compete, and that’s something special about having teams with a good core every year,” said Hall of Famer and former Bucks goalkeeper Sidney Moncrief. the hunt. “

In 12 consecutive years from 1980-91, the Bucks made the playoffs, reaching the Eastern Conference finals three times and the conference semifinals six times.

Moncrief starred in most of these groups along with Marques Johnson, Junior Bridgeman, Bob Lanier, Terry Cummings, Paul Pressey, Ricky Pierce and Jack Sikma.

These Bucks had a decade-long success, but never made it to the finals, meeting these great Celtics, Pistons and 76ers of the 1980s. Milwaukee lost to Philadelphia four times – once in the conference finals – and lost to Boston three times, including twice in the conference finals.

“The fans stood out more,” Moncrief said, “because they saw us break their hearts and see our hearts broken.”

Moncrief, who joined the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019, was a five-time All-NBA pick, a five-time All-Star, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and a five-time All-Defense pick.

“Honestly, I would rather not keep some of the best players in the NBA because it is a difficult task,” Moncrief said. “I just took it as a responsibility as it was a challenge. This was something I had to do to help the team win games. I would have preferred to just relax in defense and get back to attack, but I did not have that luxury. “

During the best course of his career, Moncrief averaged 20 points in four consecutive seasons, and in 1984-85, averaged 21.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.6 steals. .

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“What I remember is just going out every night,” he said. “You wanted this level of play to be the best. When you do this, the statistics to which you do not pay much attention. You know you will get results, but my main focus was to prepare the scout report, who I was guarding and their tendencies and our rotations in defense. I studied, understood and performed when I arrived at the field at the defensive end.

“I played for a great coach under Don Nelson and later at Del Harris and they gave me the offensive freedom to express my talents. I was a slasher, driver, post-up player and they did not try to put me in a box. They said “We will run a set to take advantage of your strength in the offensive end”. “

Moncrief and Johnson attended Game 3 and Moncrief also watched Game 5 against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference finals.

“It’s great to see them reorganize, turn around and add a piece here and there,” he said. “They are a fun team to watch and they were very resilient and showed great talent throughout the year.”

Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.

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