The Milwaukee Bucks are finally back to .500 after winning two straight thrilling games against two Texas foes. The victories were much needed as Milwaukee was on a horrendously bad losing streak, in which they only won two games in 11 outings from Jan. 30 to Feb. 23. However, the drought is over and the Bucks are ready to make a push into the playoffs.
Milwaukee currently sits in the eighth seed of the Eastern Conference with a 28-28 record. According to John Hollinger’s NBA playoff odds, the Bucks have an 87.5 percent chance of making the postseason with 26 games remaining.
Their odds diminish rapidly after that, including as a 0.2 percent chance to win the Central division, a 0.8 percent chance to make it to the NBA Finals, and a 0.1 percent chance to win it all. However, all the team needs is to make it to the big dance, and we will let the odds take care of themselves.
Jim Boylan’s squad are projected to finish the regular season in the eighth seed with a 40-42 record, which would pin them up against the Miami Heat in all likelihood. It is not that I do not believe Milwaukee could defeat Miami, but like most fans in the Brew City, I would prefer to face somebody else in the first round. Is it possible for the Bucks to eclipse the Boston Celtics and finish higher than the eighth seed?
Milwaukee has the eighth-easiest remaining schedule in the entire league with a combined opponent winning percentage of .495. Meanwhile, Boston’s strength of schedule has them facing opponents with a .497 winning percentage. Unfortunately, the Bucks do not face the Celtics again this season as they have already played them four times, winning three of those contests.
This means the only thing Milwaukee can do is continue to win basketball games and hope Boston loses enough to fall behind the Bucks in the standings.
If any fans out there are feeling optimistic and wondering what it would take to clinch a sixth seed, it is not looking good. The Chicago Bulls currently have a 33-25 record, and Milwaukee does not face them again either this season. Not to mention, speculation is that point guard Derrick Rose will be returning sooner than later, which does not bode well for the other teams in the East.
However, it would be silly to count out the Bucks, as they appear to have a new-found swagger since acquiring shooting guard J.J. Redick at the NBA trade deadline. With guard Monta Ellis playing at a high-level as well as other players stepping up their game, Milwaukee could be a team that nobody wants to mess with down the stretch.