A 14-game winning streak is just the latest reminder of why Milwaukee Bucks fans need to savor every moment they get to watch this current team play.
In a league with 82-game seasons, it’s easy to get lulled by what can be the mundanity of it all. The NBA is a league of routine, and therefore, even some of its most incredible moments throughout the run of the year can end up lost in the shuffle for many.
Still, there are some things that are so rare that they simply shouldn’t be taken for granted. Twenty-three games into the 2019-20 season, and in Mike Budenholzer’s second year in charge, it’s clear that this Bucks squad is one of them.
Although the 2018-19 season may ultimately have ended in Conference Finals disappointment, with 60 wins, and progression through two rounds of the playoffs, the Bucks achieved feats that had been little more than distant memories for the best part of 30 years.
Milwaukee endured a miserable 30-year NBA run, one which left long-suffering fans bereft of any real sense of hope, and even threatened the franchise’s future in the Cream City prior to the construction of Fiserv Forum.
Reigniting that hope and interest in the team was never going to be easy, but with a full rebrand, and the talent of players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, the Bucks managed to do just that.
Now, though, the franchise has reached a different juncture, taking its turn on the NBA’s ever tenuous carousel of contention.
Championship windows frequently take a long time to open in the NBA, and yet they can shut closed in a heartbeat. Milwaukee’s undoubtedly opened last season, but there are, increasingly, reasons to believe they may be facing a better opportunity to win it all this time around.
As it stands, the Bucks are already sitting at the summit of a jumbled and unpredictable Eastern Conference that’s filled with teams in flux who are hampered by inconsistency. The Bucks also hold a share of the NBA’s overall best record alongside the Los Angeles Lakers.
There are signs that their dominance is only becoming more apparent with each passing game too. First and foremost, the Bucks are in the midst of a 14-game winning streak. Not only is it the longest such streak in the league so far this season, but its Milwaukee’s own best run since 1973. Over the next couple of weeks, the Bucks could realistically challenge their own record of 20 consecutive wins.
Additionally, the Bucks have won their last four games by a combined margin of 137 points, and each victory has come by at least 20 points. If the Bucks can win by 20 or more when they face the Orlando Magic on Monday, they’ll not only equal their own record for consecutive wins by 20 + points, but also the NBA’s all-time record.
In recent days, our own Dan Larsen also noted just how historic Milwaukee’s early season play has been. Not every game may have been smooth for the Bucks, but in outscoring opponents by 12.9 points per 100 possessions, Milwaukee is tracking at a mark that would be the NBA’s best of the decade.
All of this is so incredibly rare, and such a respite from the horrors that were Bucks basketball for so much of recent memory, that it’s essential it’s appreciated. It’s a must that it’s celebrated.
Giannis finds ways to amaze every night, but Bucks fans owe to it to the years of watching *insert your pick of the many terrible former Bucks players here* to make sure they don’t let any moment of it pass without understanding just how special this team is.
It’s for that reason that it was so thrilling to see the fans at Fiserv Forum serenade Giannis for his birthday on Friday against the Clippers, and to see Antetokounmpo respond with genuine enthusiasm to that adulation.
Enthusiasm certainly isn’t something that Antetokounmpo has ever been accused of lacking from the first day he stepped into the NBA. From the wonder of tasting a smoothie for the first time to that moment when he celebrated his birthday with a blowout win against a major rival, the Greek superstar has set out a template that’s now worth following.
Championships are incredibly difficult to win, and there are so many things that could yet go wrong. But if nothing else, Bucks fans should channel Giannis’ boundless enthusiasm into their own relationship with the team.
Thirty years from now, perhaps after further decades of misery, if someone asks you about the great Bucks teams of the late 2010s, you’ll want to be able to say you took the time to tune in and enjoy their greatness.