3 positive stats from the Milwaukee Bucks’ frustrating January

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 10: (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 10: (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo, Golden State Warriors: Jordan Poole
Jan 13, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

It probably says something about the standards that we collectively have for the Milwaukee Bucks and the expectations that they’ve set for themselves when they have a 7-8 record in January and it’s considered a down month.

This is the Bucks’ second month this season with a losing record (they went 3-4 in October due to several absences) but went 21-9 in November and December. They only had one such month last season and it was the first month of the season when they went 2-3.

Even after a “brutal” month, the Bucks are still a top-five seed in the East and only a game and a half out of the first seed. Still, it was an interesting month for the Bucks for several reasons and there were some fun stats to come out of it.

The Milwaukee Bucks went 4-2 against playoff teams in January

I’m somewhat cheating here because they did lose to the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors who are both occupying play-in spots, but for teams in the top six in their conference, the Bucks fared relatively well.

They blew out the Brooklyn Nets for the second time this season (without Kyrie Irving, but it was in Brooklyn so that’s his fault), then blew out the Golden State Warriors with each team missing key pieces (Draymond Green, Jrue Holiday). They won a competitive affair with the Memphis Grizzlies (who were without Desmond Bane) and there was the Chicago Bulls game that definitely didn’t have anything to talk about afterward.

They ended the month on a down note, losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Denver Nuggets by a lot of points, but still, four of their seven wins came against legit playoff teams. Some (Nets and Warriors) are considered to be among the four or five favorites to win the championship this season.

Per Cleaning the Glass (subscription required), the Bucks are 7-7 against teams with a top 10 point differential this season and have a minus-1.2 point differential in those games. While that sounds less than ideal, their record is the eighth-best and their point differential is 11th.

It’s frustrating losing to teams that are below them in the standings after seeing them boat race those types of teams in recent seasons, but if they’re performing well against the league’s best teams, then that’s all that matters for the regular season.