Despite faltering on Christmas Day, the Milwaukee Bucks have shown themselves to be one of the best – if not the best – teams in the country. The Bucks’ 123-102 win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Saturday tied a franchise-best start to the season. It marked their 20th win in 21 games. Now they’ve accrued an impressive record of 27-5, the best in the NBA ahead of the Lakers, who sit at 24-7. Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is producing top stats as he leads one of the best offenses and defenses in the league. But can the Bucks win a title this year?
Shop Cheap Milwaukee Bucks Tickets! They’re always authentic and you’ll always receive them on time!
Giannis Sends a Message
In that same Knicks game last weekend, Giannis had his third triple-double of the season with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists despite being uncertain at the start of the game due to back soreness. The Bucks never trailed all night, and that win matched their best start over 30 games in team history since 1971, back when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was starting.
Many question whether a smaller-town team like the Bucks can ever win an NBA title. Since the team’s establishment in 1968, they’ve only managed to win one… again, back in 1971. When it comes to stats, however, the Bucks just might have history on their side. In five of the past 10 years, the team that has been leading the league at Christmas has gone on to win the title. See the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors as our most recent examples.
A few days back, the Greek Freak sent a message to the Lakers and Lebron James with a dominant 111-104 win in what some are calling an NBA Finals preview. Giannis put up 34 points, showing that he’s prepared to lead his team to a championship. Of course, King James hopes to do the same, having added Anthony Davis to LA’s roster this season. According to Shaquille O’Neal, “Giannis is saying, ‘You have been the king for a long time; it’s my league now.’”
Shop Cheap NBA Tickets! No matter your team, we’ve got cheap NBA tickets!
So what did Antetokounmpo himself have to say after that Lakers game? He’s just happy to be here: “I wasn’t the number one pick, AD was, LeBron was. I wasn’t supposed to be here. I wasn’t supposed to go up against these two beasts. So I’m just happy that I’m here and happy that I’m going through the process, and I always want to be better, do better for my team, and that’s what gives me joy.”
And the Bucks’ Supporting Cast
Even without players like Malcolm Brogdon and Nikola Mirotic, the Bucks are leading the East – and quite handily at that. Brogdon, who signed with the Pacers this summer, met his former teammates on the court last Sunday in what culminated in a 117-89 loss for Indiana. Brogdon says he would’ve stayed in Milwaukee if given the choice. In an interview, he said, “I would’ve loved to play for this team, if they had wanted me. If they had valued me the way the Pacers value me. That’s all I gotta say.”
Still, with their current starters, the Bucks’ elite defense is one of the best in the league. By focusing on defending the rim, they’ve limited opponents in points per 100 possessions better than any team since the 2015-2016 Spurs. Big men, Brook and Robin Lopez, are the key duo they use to accomplish this, but of course, the presence of Antetokounmpo is great for stopping passes and shots by opponents too. Because of their focus on the rim, the Bucks are known for allowing a relatively large amount of three-pointers (albeit quality three-pointers), but it doesn’t affect their status as the NBA’s best defense… which shows the rim is really where it counts.
Along with a tough defense and the 30.5 average points per game put up by Giannis, shooters like Khris Middleton are key for the Bucks. He had a season-high 31 points on Christmas Day. And when point guard Eric Bledsoe returns from injury, Milwaukee should really be able to crank things up.
The Celtics are currently in second place in the East, but honestly, it’s not even close – Boston has six fewer wins than Milwaukee. Sure, the Bucks might’ve lost 121-109 to the Sixers on Christmas Day, but that was largely due to the 76ers’ record-setting game, ridiculous 21 three-pointers, and a massive performance by Joel Embiid. The Bucks will take on the Atlanta Hawks on Friday and the Orlando Magic on Saturday, beginning a 10-game stretch of facing teams with losing records. That should help them rack up quite a few more Ws.