Does the NBA Team That Wins Game 3 Win the Series? (Part 2)

Yesterday, we took a look at every series that went back to the underdog’s home arena tied 1-1 in order to determine whether Game 3 would, functionally, ultimately decide the series. What we mostly learned is that having home court advantage in the playoffs is so overpowering that even losing a game on their home floor doesn’t often stop the favorite. When the underdog wins Game 3 at home, they’re still only 6-11 when it comes to winning the actual series, a 29-53 pace over an 82-game season. When they lose? Only one team, the 2016 Thunder in their second-round …

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Jordan Nwora: Best Saved for TV?

So far this season, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Jordan Nwora of the Milwaukee Bucks on television twice, both times on TNT, both times in Bucks wins—first over Brooklyn on opening night, the second time Tuesday night against Philadelphia. In those two games, he has shot 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) from the field, 3-of-8 (37.5 percent) from long range, recorded a combined plus-8 while on the floor in his 41 minutes, all while turning the ball over just once. If you saw a guy like that, you’d think “he’s pretty good. At age 23, he might grow into one of …

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The Milwaukee Bucks’ Best Season: 1971

In the 1969 NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks made quite possibly the most history-changing choice in the entire annals of professional basketball when they selected Lew Alcindor out of UCLA with the first overall pick. Alcindor, who is better known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, turned a team that went 27-55 in its first year in existence as an expansion team, around overnight. Milwaukee went 56-26 and made the East Division finals in Kareem’s rookie year, losing to the eventual-champion Knicks. In Kareem’s second year, Milwaukee won 66 games and the title, the only title in franchise history until the Giannis Antetokounmpo-led …

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Giannis Has a Title. Can He Be the GOAT?

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns in the 2021 NBA Finals, winning the Greek Freak his first championship in his eighth season in the league. It took Michael Jordan seven years in the NBA to become a champion. LeBron James got his first ring in his ninth year. With the 5-time All-Star, 5-time All-NBA, 4-time All-Defensive (including Defensive Player of the Year in 2020), 2-time MVP already in possession of a fringe Hall of Fame case even if he never plays another NBA game, he’s added a ring to that list of accolades. But let’s speculate …

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NBA Playoffs: How Often Do Home Teams Win All 7 Games?

Last week, we took a look at how often teams win the series when they draw first blood on the road. Favorites, as in “the team that gets Game 1 and, if necessary, Game 7 at home”, almost always win—if it hadn’t been for Golden State in 2016, that record would be flawless going back to at least 1991. Underdogs only win 41.2 percent of the time (again, since 1991), but since they only get three home games, they’re up against the wall from the moment Game 1 tips off. Last night (July 17), the Milwaukee Bucks won Game 5 …

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The Weird, Wacky Past of the 1970s Bucks and Suns

As the Phoenix Suns jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 2021 NBA Finals, handily beating the Milwaukee Bucks 118-105 on Tuesday, I got to thinking if they’d ever met in the playoffs before. “But Fox,” you may object, “the Bucks haven’t been to the Finals since 1974, and the other two times they played for the title, it was against the Celtics and the Bullets. What do the Suns have to do with that?” Well, you’ll notice for one thing that those two prior Finals appearances featured the Bucks as champions of the Western Conference. You’ll also notice …

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Speaking Too Soon: The 2021 Eastern Conference Finals

You ever read something and think “man, I need an editor?” Because in my piece “The Terrible Coach Redemption Tour”, I asserted that Steve Nash was coaching in the conference finals. This is what happens when you have a deadline, Game 7 of the conference semis are still to be played, and of course you’re going to be spending the next five days working a contract gig full-time that’s nowhere near your home studio. The Milwaukee Bucks won Game 7 over the Brooklyn Nets. And of course I didn’t get time to write about it until Saturday. Gods help me. …

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Are We Seeing the Milwaukee Bucks’ Ceiling?

Thursday night, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Brooklyn Nets 86-83, closing their series deficit to two games to one, with the home team having won all three contests so far. Unfortunately for the Bucks, that 86 points just happened to match their total when they got ritually slaughtered in Game 2 by a 125-86 score, and what’s more, the Bucks’ pathetic 94.5 Offensive Rating in the series so far does not augur well for them unless everyone on the team who isn’t Giannis Antetokounmpo or Khris Middleton suddenly remembers they’re professional basketball players and they start getting with the program. …

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Which Defensive Stats Matter Most in the NBA in 2021?

The Milwaukee Bucks have built a 27-14 record on three defensive pillars. One, don’t let the other team get good looks. The Bucks are ninth in opponents’ eFG% despite being 20th in opponents’ 3PT%. They’re forcing opponents into bad two-point shots and stand fourth in that metric. Even though teams shoot well and often from three, it’s offset by their inability to get to the rim and get an easy two. Two, limit the other team to one shot. Milwaukee is tied with the Orlando Magic for the best defensive rebounding percentage in the league. And three, defend without fouling; …

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A Study In Glorious Failure Part 1: Don Nelson

There have, in the annals of NBA history, been great players who never won a title. The mere mention of the concept immediately brings to mind a slew of guys who, because they came through the league during the reign of a team they weren’t on, retired without that elusive ring. Like “every star in the league who wasn’t on the Celtics in the 1960s.” Or “Every star in the league who was in his prime between 1991 and 1998 and wasn’t on the Bulls or Rockets.” Or the stars of the Dark Ages who weren’t on the Lakers or …

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