Milwaukee Bucks: Imagining a documentary on the early 1970s Bucks

CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 5, 1974: (Photo by Ron Kuntz Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 5, 1974: (Photo by Ron Kuntz Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks' Larry Costello
NEW YORK, NY -NOVEMBER 17, 1973: (Photo by Ross Lewis/Getty Images) /

Where they were in their run

The Bucks had reached the top of the proverbial mountain at the end of the 1970-71 season after casually sweeping the Baltimore Bullets and winning the lone title in team history.

Certainly, winning a title as the Bucks did that season would not have happened without a little luck, such as the coin flip to land Abdul-Jabbar or swinging a massive trade to bring in Robertson that immediately fortified the Bucks’ championship core from the 70-71 season onwards.

Thanks to their elite end-to-end dominance, Milwaukee ascended to the top of the league just as fast as they entered it back in 1968. So much so that Sports Illustrated proclaimed the Bucks to be “The Best Team Ever” back in November of 1971.

But the stinging feelings that generated from their playoff defeats in ’72 and ’73 provided ample motivation for the Bucks to improve upon the bitter defeat to the Warriors as Abdul-Jabbar told Sports Illustrated going into the ’73-’74 season:

"“We’ve got to be better. We can’t be any worse than we were last year.”"

As was noted further in the piece, Robertson entered the year in his lightest shape since college at 210 pounds and the ever-diligent and meticulous Costello was looking for new ways to make the Bucks an even-more imposing defensive team.

Those efforts to rejuvenate themselves in favor of better results were sorely needed. After 277 games played for three straight seasons starting in the championship-winning season in ’71, both in the regular season and playoffs combined, the wear and tear of heavy minutes and largely deep playoff runs had Milwaukee firmly in a race against time.