Milwaukee Bucks: Eastern Conference’s top seed still in striking distance
After dominating the regular season competition in each of the past two years, the Milwaukee Bucks found themselves in unfamiliar territory early this season.
With a 16-13 record throughout 29 games, the Bucks certainly looked discombobulated as a whole. This can be attributed to several factors, including the significant roster turnover that is still occurring this late in the season, various injuries, and several players having battles with the league’s health and safety protocols.
Milwaukee struggled to find any consistency early on, but since their 16-13 start, the Bucks have reeled off 16 victories in their last 21 games. Following the recent surge, they currently sit at third place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 32-18 overall record.
This team has been firing on all cylinders throughout that span when healthy, and the Bucks are still making a run at that top spot in the Eastern Conference before the playoffs roll around.
The Milwaukee Bucks must finish strong to reclaim the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
With 22 regular season games left to play, the Bucks have a legitimate shot at reaching the top of the standings. After losing 122-121 to the Golden State Warriors last night, Milwaukee currently sits just 2.5 games back of the conference’s top seed behind the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Furthermore, the Bucks have one of the easiest remaining strength of schedule among the bunch based on their opponent’s winning percentage. According to Tankathon, Brooklyn has the 10th most difficult schedule in the association, followed by Milwaukee at 18, and Philadelphia tied for 19th. Given that the Bucks have some ground to gain, their tolerable schedule gives them an immediate advantage if they can string together some wins down the stretch.
That includes gaining some ground directly as Milwaukee will face Philadelphia and Brooklyn two times each over the course of the next month. All four matchups will be home games for the Bucks at Fiserv Forum, tacking on another advantage in what will be a pivotal set of games for Milwaukee. It goes without saying that these games are arguably the four most crucial contests left on the schedule.
Catching up to that top spot is certainly far easier said than done, but the Bucks are more than capable of getting there. As previously mentioned, the key components on this roster have finally begun to gel, and their recent play suggests that they are playing their best collective basketball of the season.
While having that home-court advantage with limited fans in attendance certainly dials down that postseason atmosphere, it will still be a massive boost for whichever team gets that top overall seed, particularly in the Eastern Conference. Between the Bucks, Nets, 76ers, and every other team jockeying for positioning in the standings, these playoffs are shaping up to be thrilling, and having home court would be a significant advantage.
Hopefully, the Milwaukee Bucks can continue their recent stretch of success and close out the regular season strong. Asserting themselves into that top overall spot would be huge, and time will tell if they can reach that goal with 22 games left.