There is an old bro’s tale, whispered every Sunday from September through the Super Bowl at STATS Bar & Grille in South Boston, usually by a dude wearing a Gronk jersey. It goes like this:
Good teams win. Great teams cover.
(In fact, if you turn all the lights off in your bathroom and look in the mirror while saying that three times fast, a white guy in a ‘90s NBA jersey will show up and let you throw in one $10 bet, free of charge.) We digress: Good teams win. Great teams cover. Good teams win. Great teams cover. That’s what the Bucks did last night. (For the season, they’re 32 of 53 covering spreads, most of which have been double-digits.) In a game without Giannis, whose lady gave birth to a small Giannis yesterday, Milwaukee beat Sacramento, 123-111, to cover a 10.5-point spread and improve to 5-0 without their MVP. (In those five games, the Bucks are winning by an average of 16.8 points.)
This team, now 46-7, is turning into a historic juggernaut.
Their net rating, 11.8, would go down as the highest in NBA history.
If they keep their current pace, they’ll win 71 games. (46 ÷ 53 = .867. .867 x 82 = 71.16)
Giannis is playing only 30.9 minutes per game, lowest since his rookie year, while also scoring 30 points per game.
(There’s an argument that Milwaukee won’t reach 70 because it’ll have the East locked up by early-April, but every lineup they flick out there seems to win anyways.) Of the 13 teams who have won at least 67 games:
Nine won the NBA Finals
10 made the Finals
Three -- the ‘15-16 Spurs, the ‘72-73 Celtics, the ‘06-07 Mavericks -- lost before the Finals
One lost in the first round to a pretty average Warriors team. Sorry, Dallas.
The point: Barring an injury to Giannis, this is Milwaukee’s year to make the Finals for the first time since 1972 Now, imagine how scary Giannis will be in 2021, when he leaves Milwaukee and actually gets to play with a second star? READ: How the Bucks got Giannis Antetokounmpo ready for being a first-time father
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