By JERRY TAPP
The NBA’s best team (record-wise), the Milwaukee Bucks, was 53-9 on Friday, March 6 before they played the Los Angeles Lakers. They were starting their last 20-game stretch in this season.
A loss to the Lakers that night and losses to the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets meant the Bucks had started the final 20-game stretch with a 0-3 season.
Fortunately, the Bucks have already secured a playoff spot for this season. For other teams, however, the final 20-game stretch is where they will make a push for not only a spot in the playoffs, but a high seed to gain home court advantage.
Over the previous three NBA seasons (2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19), there were three teams that won 70% or higher of their last 20 games in each of those three seasons … 60 games in total over three campaigns.
Topping the list were the Houston Rockets who went 44-16 (.733) in the last 20 games of the season in the last three years. Two fellow Western Conference teams followed the Rockets: Utah at 43-17 (.717) and Portland at 42-18 (.700).
Here’s a look at how many games each NBA team won in the past three seasons in the last 20 games of the campaign… 60 games total.
40: Golden State
38: San Antonio
36: Denver, L.A. Clippers, Miami, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City
28: New Orleans
27: Brooklyn, Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit
21: Chicago, L.A. Lakers
15: New York
Only one team, the 1996-97 Utah Jazz, won 19 of their last 20 games of a season. Seven teams won 18 of their last 20, the most recent of those teams being the 2017-18 Philadelphia 76ers.
Last season the Rockets won 16 of their last 20 games, the most of any team. Portland and San Antonio were next with 15 wins in their last 20 games last season.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp