Bucks have historically high point-differential marks

The Milwaukee Bucks play the Detroit Pistons for the third time this season on Wednesday night.

Milwaukee has won both of its matchups against Detroit so far this season, following a trend that started in 2018.

Since the 2018-19 season, the Bucks are 9-0 against the Pistons and have connected on 61.6% of their 2-point shots.

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In fairness to Detroit, Milwaukee has been doing this to the rest of the NBA as well in the past three seasons. The Bucks had a +8.9 point differential per game in 2018-19, +10.1 in 2019-20 and sit at +11.6 through 11 games this year.

To put those marks in context, the only other season point differential per game near the recent teams is when the 1971-72 Bucks won by an average of 11.2 points per contest. That team went 63-19 with an MVP in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals.

Milwaukee has been able to win by so much because it gets off to strong starts. The 2020-21 Bucks lead by an average of 5.3 points after each first quarter, which is the most in league history since 1951-52. The 73-win Golden State Warriors were up by five points after 12 minutes and the 72-win Chicago Bulls averaged a 4.5 point lead entering the second quarter.

Milwaukee’s teams of the past three years average the most points per game in franchise history. The 2018-19 squad scored 118.1 points, the 2019-20 team went up to 118.7 and this year’s team averages 121.9 points per contest so far.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton help make that happen. Among qualified players this season, there are only four players who record .500+% from the floor, 20+ ppg, 5+ rpg and 5+ apg. Antetokounmpo does it by averaging 52.5%, 26.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists, while Middleton is at 54.4%, 22.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists. The only two other players who meet those marks are Domantas Sabonis of the Indiana Pacers and Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets.

Detroit, on the other hand, has not finished above .500 the two seasons and at 2-8 it appears to be on that track once again. One issue it is having this season is that its starters are scoring an average of 64.3 points per game, which is the worst in the NBA.

The good news for the Pistons is that their bench averages a league-high 44.5 points per game. In fact, the Bucks and Pistons are tied with five games of 50 or more points from their bench this season.

Statistics courtesy of Sportsradar