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Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer calls Eric Bledsoe’s defensive contributions ‘incredibly important’

Mike Budenholzer, Bucks, Eric Bledsoe

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer says starting point guard Eric Bledsoe’s defensive contributions in the playoffs have been “incredibly important.”

Bledsoe has always had the capability of being an All-NBA defender, but he’s taken his defensive skills to another level under Budenholzer.

Along with putting up 16.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists, Bledsoe is also racking up 1.4 steals per game for the Bucks in the playoffs. Milwaukee currently has a 2-1 series lead over the Boston Celtics in the second round and will look to take a commanding 3-1 lead on Monday in Game 4.

Celtics star point guard Kyrie Irving, one of the best players in the game, is shooting just 39.3 percent from the field against the Bucks through three games. Bledsoe is making Irving work hard for every bucket by using his speed and upper body strength. After all, they don’t call the Bucks’ floor general “Mini-LeBron” for nothing. Bledsoe may be the strongest point guard in the NBA.

Bledsoe only scored nine points in Game 3, but he made up for his poor offensive outing by playing stellar defense. Staying engaged for 48 minutes has sometimes been an issue for Bledsoe in the past, but not under Budenholzer, who usually puts the Bucks guard on the opponent’s best player.