Milwaukee Bucks showing their championship pedigree in recent wins

Mar 2, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

If you (like most sports fans) get really nervous at the end of a close Milwaukee Bucks game, then you may not have enjoyed some of their recent wins. Well, until the horn sounded, I guess.

In their two recent wins, they had to compete right to the final buzzer and grind out wins against two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. That is a change from their two most recent losses where they were on the other end of those close games.

But during their modest three-game win streak, they’ve shown a little bit of that championship DNA or pedigree. They have a brutal schedule to end the season (some would say it’s the hardest in the league!) but they’ve been able to weather the storm so far and have come away with three wins out of four games coming out of the break.

The Milwaukee Bucks have won in different ways in recent games

Let’s start with the first win (and easily the least stressful). First of all, it was coming off of a disappointing close loss to the short-handed Brooklyn Nets, a game they absolutely should have won. Second, they were going up against a Charlotte Hornets team that has given them trouble the last couple of seasons and had taken two of three this year.

After a tight first quarter, the defending champs stomped the Hornets in the following two quarters and were up as many as 35.

That could have been a game they easily let get away from them against a pesky team, but the Bucks didn’t mess around and took care of business. But hey, that was against a play-in team. How will you do against two of the best teams in the conference as you’re looking to climb up the standings?

Well, first up was the East-leading Miami Heat and things weren’t looking too hot with six minutes to go as they were down 14.

They proceeded to go on a 21-6 run and close it out with a Jrue Holiday game-winning layup over Bam Adebayo. They survived a wild 3-point shooting night from Miami which saw them nail 21 triples and picked up a huge win over one of their conference rivals.

That was a home game though, try going on the road in a hostile environment after a rather eventful first meeting, and one of their role players saying things could get chippy.

After one of their patented bad third quarters had them trailing by seven going into the fourth, the Bucks needed a big effort if they wanted to come back and pick up a big road win.

Wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what happened!

They’ve had to dig deep in two of those three games and even the first one wasn’t expected to be a blowout, but they took care of a team they should have instead of playing with their food.

It’s been a very inconsistent season for the Bucks, to say the least. But these last few games, you’re starting to see that killer instinct come back as they finish off close games or simply not let a team in a game at all.

The main reason for all this? The big three.

In that 21-6 run against the Heat, 18 of those points came from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Holiday. The Bucks scored a total of 238 points in their last two wins and the big three combined for over 67 percent of those points (161 combined).

They’ve come out of the break seemingly refreshed and ready for a stretch run heading into the playoffs to defend their title. There has been a lot of worry about their low-scoring bench this season, which has cost them regular season games and that is something to be concerned about.

But when the playoffs come around and teams shorten their rotations, having a big three like the Bucks do that can carry the offense and come through down the stretch, it’s massive.

More than the big three, though, they’ve gotten valuable contributions from role players, even if it isn’t on offense. Sure, Bobby Portis has chipped in 47 points in these wins, but he’s also continuing to rebound and compete on defense.

Jevon Carter and Wesley Matthews weren’t even on the Bucks last season (although Carter did go to the NBA Finals), but they’ve clearly embraced their role and are thriving in it. That’s the type of culture that head coach Mike Budenholzer has helped instill since coming here.

It all sounds very cliche, but there is a certain feeling and confidence that winning a championship gives an organization.

That confidence has shown up in their recent wins and even in some of their losses this season. They don’t get too high or too low and know that there’s a bigger goal ahead of them that’s coming after the regular season.

While they’ve sort of dogged most of the regular season, they’re now sitting at a top-three seed in the conference with a few winnable games ahead of them.

Next. 3 players the Milwaukee Bucks need more from down the stretch. dark

Perhaps it’ll be short-lived but the Bucks are beginning to look the part of defending champs at the right moment.