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Milwaukee Bucks’ Mike Budenholzer could have saved his job with win over the Brooklyn Nets

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer should be thankful that Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant’s shoe size is as big as it is.

That’s the backdrop after Milwaukee’s shocking Game 7 road win over the Nets in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series Saturday evening.

In what was an instant classic, Milwaukee came out on top by the score of 115-111 in overtime. This came after KD tied the game up at the end of regulation on a long two. His foot was on the line, forcing the game into the extra stanza rather than the Nets winning in pretty much walk-off fashion.

Basketball is a game of inches. That was proven Saturday evening in the Big Apple. And those inches might have saved Mike Budenholzer his job.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on “The Jump” Sunday afternoon that by virtue of Milwaukee’s win over the Miami Heat in the first round and its ability to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, the head coach might have secured his future in Wisconsin.

First off, it’s somewhat surprising that Budenholzer’s job was on the line in the first place. Since joining the Bucks back in 2018-19, he’s posted a stellar 162-65 regular-season record and has led the team to two Eastern Conference Finals appearances. Even then, rumors persisted that a premature playoff exit would have likely cost him his job with the Bucks after just three seasons.

Mike Budenholzer and his future with the Milwaukee Bucks

milwaukee bucks head coach mike budenholzer
Jun 15, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer coaches his team against the Brooklyn Nets during the second quarter of game five of the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not yet known if Saturday’s win will lead to an extension for the respected basketball mind. He has one more year remaining on his rookie deal. What we do know is that Budenholzer would have likely been gone if the Bucks lost that epic game.

The emergence of Terry Stotts as a potential head coach candidate following his firing from the Portland Trail Blazers added another layer to this. Stotts has previous experience as an assistant in Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, Becky Hammon is one of the top head coach candidates during this year’s hiring cycle. She previously interviewed for the Bucks’ opening back in 2018 before Milwaukee’s brass decided on hiring Mike Budenholzer. In addition to this, Rick Carlisle just became available after resigning from the Dallas Mavericks following 13 seasons.

Either way, it now appears that his job is safe for now. Whether that’s the case moving forward depends heavily on the outcome of the Eastern Conference Finals.