After their Game 4 loss to the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer challenged Eric Bledsoe to step up in the next games.
Bledsoe just had five points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field in 20 minutes of play. Per Ben Golliver of the Washington Post, Budenholzer said that they need Bledsoe to exert more effort if they want to win.
“We’re going to need Bled. … We need him to play better.”
Bucks' Mike Budenholzer on Eric Bledsoe (2-7 shooting in 20 minutes) after Game 4 blowout loss to Raptors: "We're going to need Bled. … We need him to play better." pic.twitter.com/IQQ3weISLG
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 22, 2019
Bledsoe’s playoff output has dropped in their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Raptors. So far, he’s averaging just 8.3 points per game, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists. He’s also shooting at a horrendous 25.6 percent clip from the field.
Mike Budenholzer: "We're going to need Bled." Tonight, Eric Bledsoe was 2-for-7 and scored five points in 20 minutes. He is now 11-for-45 from the field overall and 2-for-19 from 3-point range in this series.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) May 22, 2019
In their Eastern Conference Seminals series with the Boston Celtics, he averaged 13.4 points per game on 41 percent shooting. In the first round against the Detroit Pistons, Bledsoe was at his best at 19.3 points per game on 53.5 percent shooting.
From the looks of it, the deeper the Bucks go into the playoffs, the harder it is for Bledsoe to contribute. It certainly makes sense. The further you go, the harder the journey becomes simply because you’ll be faced with much tougher foes.
But if you truly want a championship, the trend should be the opposite. You should be working harder knowing that it’ll be tougher going forward. Budenholzer wants Bledsoe to realize this. He’s one of the key pillars of the team. And a bad night for him also translates into an awful night for the Bucks.