By JERRY TAPP
Is history telling us that the Milwaukee Bucks will finally get past the first round of the NBA playoffs this year?
If you trust the stats, the answer is “Yes.”
This year’s Bucks were 11-4 after the first 15 games of the season. They are the ninth team in team history to have 11 or more wins in the first 15 games of the year. Of the previous eight Bucks teams that won at least 11 of their first 15 games, all went on to reach the playoffs that season with two of the teams reaching the Finals … two made it to the conference finals … and three made it to the conference semi-finals that season. In addition, six of the eight teams won at least 50 games that year.
Here’s a look at the nine times when the Bucks, who haven’t advanced beyond the first round since 2001, won at least 11 of their first 15 games in a season.
— 1971 (went 14-1 in first 15 games) … finished 66-16, won NBA title
— 1972 (went 14-1 in first 15 games) … finished 63-19, lost in the conference finals
— 1973 (went 12-3 in first 15 games) … finished 60-22, lost in the conference semis
— 1974 (went 14-1 in first 15 games) … finished 59-23, lost in the NBA Finals
— 1980 (went 12-3 in first 15 games) … finished 49-33, lost in the conference semis
— 1981 (went 12-3 in first 15 games) … finished 60-22, lost in the conference semis
– 1986 (went 11-4 in first 15 games) … finished 57-25, lost in the conference finals
— 1991 (went 11-4 in first 15 games) … finished 48-34, lost in the first round
— 2018-19 (went 11-4 in first 15 games) … finished ???
- Back on November 8, the Bucks defeated the two-time defending NBA champs, the Golden State Warriors, 134-111 on their (Golden State’s) home court. While the victory might have surprised some NBA fans and pundits, a win versus the Warriors should not have been a surprise to die-hard Bucks fans. In fact, did you know that the Bucks have their highest winning percentage in head-to-head games versus the Warriors? With the win earlier this month, the Bucks are now 82-54 all-time against Golden State, a .603 winning percentage. The only other NBA foe that the Bucks have a .600 or better winning percentage is against the Sacramento Kings franchise; they are 87-58 versus the Kings franchise, a .600 winning percentage. Of the 29 NBA opponents, the Bucks are .500 or better all-time against 18 franchises, and below .500 against 11 franchises. The Bucks have a winning percentage under .400 versus four franchises: New Orleans (.257), Denver (.372), Miami (.380) and the Los Angeles Lakers (.396).
- Through the first 15 games of the season, the Bucks have launched 604 three-point shots, an average of 40.26 per game. The Bucks are on a pace to finish the season with 3,302 three-point attempts. The team record is 2,024 in a season, which they set just last season. It’s also interesting to note that if they continue on their pace to finish with over 3,000 three-point attempts this season, they would become only the third NBA team in history to attempts 3,000 or more treys in a year. The other two… Houston attempted 3,306 in 2016-17 and 3,470 in 2017-18.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp