Sterling Brown has become one of Bucks’ unsung heroes

Do you ever wonder why each NBA team has three-word slogans/mission statements in the regular season throughout the playoffs, such as Milwaukee’s “Fear the Deer?”

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Well, because “NBA Playoffs: where extraordinary things happen nightly, players simultaneously dive on the same loose balls, Giannis Antetokounmpo will have an amazing highlight that breaks the internet and multiple players will step up every game,” is too long to fit on any shirt.

Maybe he’s not on a t-shirt, but one of those unsung heroes of the Bucks’ Game 4 series clinching 127-104 win over the Pistons was second-year guard Sterling Brown. He finished the game with nine points, six assists, and a steal, but Brown’s most impressive stat was his game-high and career-high 13 rebounds he pulled down.

A 6-foot-6 shooting guard, Brown isn’t typically known as a rebounder, and only averaged 3.2 per game in the regular season. But with a physical Detroit team clinging on to its postseason life, he and the rest of the Bucks matched the Pistons’ intensity and willed out the win in the second half.

“It shows how we got each other’s back and stay true to our principles we’ve had in place all year,” Brown said. “They gave us a great shot, they came out firing on all cylinders, knocking down shots, getting pretty much whatever they wanted to do. We held strong and stayed together and came out with the win. It was pretty physical, I’d say the last two games were about even, they brought it … they had no choice, they had to.”

At the beginning of the year, Brown didn’t see much playing time. He got double-digit minutes just four times in Milwaukee’s first 21 games, with a high of 19:27, and didn’t see the court in eight of those contests. Now, he is in a starting role for the Bucks – he’s started 11 of the last 12 games, including all four playoff contests — and averaged 25.8 minutes in the recent series against the Pistons.

Aside from him crashing the defensive boards in Game 4, Brown has also been efficient with his offensive game. In the series against the Pistons, he made 11 of 19 shots including 5-for-9 from 3-point range, all while showing his carefulness and awareness in his passing game. Brown had 15 assists to just six turnovers in the first round.

“Every time I step on the court, I feel confident,” Brown said. “I’ve definitely worked on my game and improved in certain areas. I’ve been focusing on it and striving to get better in other areas, but whenever I step on the court I have confidence in myself, and I got a long way to go and I got a lot to prove.”

Brown has only been part of the Bucks for two seasons, but he is very aware of what their series win over Detroit means to the franchise. It not only ended Milwaukee’s 18-year drought of not advancing to the second round of the playoffs, but it’s also a rematch against the Boston Celtics, who eliminated the Bucks just a year ago in a very competitive and hard fought seven-game first-round series.

“It’s a testament to what this organization has been aiming at and getting out of the first round is … huge for everybody,” Brown said. “You always want to get that series [which they lost] back, we got our chance right now to get on them … it’s going to be a great series.”