Bucks March toward playoffs

The Milwaukee Bucks are heating up at just the right time.
AP/Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

The Milwaukee Bucks have used a hot March to propel them into serious consideration for a playoff spot.

Milwaukee currently is the seventh seed in the East and just a scant 1 1/2 games behind Indiana for the sixth spot.

The Bucks are 7-2 this month, a .778 winning percentage. In franchise history, Milwaukee has only two better winning percentages in March: 1.000 in 1973 (13-0) and .813 in 1985 (13-3). The last time Milwaukee has done this well in March was 2010, when the Bucks were 11-4 (.733).

And it’s not like Milwaukee has had an easy path thus far. Five of the nine teams the Bucks have played this month own a winning record (Milwaukee is 4-1 in those contests).

Date Opponent Record Result
March 1 Nuggets 33-35 L, 110-98
March 3 Clippers 40-29 W, 112-101
March 4 Raptors 47-21 W, 101-94
March 6 at 76ers 24-43 W, 112-98
March 8 Knicks 27-42 W, 104-93
March 10 Pacers 35-33 W, 99-85
March 11 Wolves 28-39 W, 102-95
March 13 at Grizzlies 39-30 L, 113-93
March 15 at Clippers 40-29 W, 97-96

Nine down, nine to go. Milwaukee still has nine games left this month. The bad news is that six of them are on the road. The good news is right now only three of those teams have a winning record.

Date Opponent Record Series
March 17 at Lakers 20-48 0-1
March 18 at Warriors 54-14 0-1
March 21 at Blazers 30-37 1-0
March 22 at Kings 27-41 1-0
March 24 Hawks 37-31 0-3
March 26 Bulls 32-36 3-0
March 28 at Hornets 29-39 0-1
March 29 at Celtics 43-25 0-1
March 31 Pistons 33-35 2-1

Friday’s opponent, Los Angeles, has allowed 105 or more points in 11 straight games. The Bucks are 22-10 when scoring 105+ points this season.

In addition, Golden State is without Kevin Durant while Chicago’s Dwyane Wade is out for the season, so the schedule sets up kind of nicely for Milwaukee.

The Bucks didn’t enter March like a lamb, but they’d like to end it like a lion.

Other notes:

— Milwaukee’s field-goal percentage differential of +.019 (.477 own, .458 opponent) ranks fourth in the NBA. The Lakers are last with a -.036 (.446, .482).

— The last time the Bucks and Lakers met, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 41 points, tied for sixth most in franchise history.

— Malcolm Brodgon is fourth in Bucks history in assists per game by a rookie at 4.12.

Statistics courtesy STATS