If all goes to plan, this season will be a lot more fun to revisit in 2018 or 2023 or so.
You know how we all have a wonderful time name-dropping Eric Murdock and Elliot Perry and players like that now? And how reminiscing while bringing back those green and purple jerseys for a night or two is just the best?
Yes, everyone can feel good about feeling nostalgic about the 1995-96 and 1996-97 Bucks teams. (Whether or not those were two of the worst teams in franchise history, according to wins and losses.)
Even if it doesn’t make sense now, and it doesn’t make sense now, this is how it works.
In time, we will look back on the first season of Giannis, and the first season with the new floor design at what will be the old stadium, and that time the Bucks signed three of the best dunkers in the world to consecutive 10-day contracts, and Herb Kohl’s last season as owner… and there will be a sentimental breeze in the air.
And a lot depends on what happens in the upcoming draft lottery and draft and the next seasons. This could be a treasured team in serendipitous ways. Later or sooner.
10 Memorable Games
10. Bucks 109, Cavaliers 104 – November 6, 2013 – BMO Harris Bradley Center
- The good old days. November 6, back when the 76ers were winning the Atlantic Division, the Bucks were in playoff position, and the Bulls, Wizards, and Grizzlies were in last place. After this win, the Bucks improved to 2-2. That was their best record of the season.
- Wild finish to this one. The Bucks led 103-91 before the Cavaliers went on a 13-0 run (the first 10 points of that run courtesy of Kyrie Irving). That gave the Cavaliers a 104-103 lead, but then the Bucks went on a 6-0 run to finish the game.
- Here is how long ago this game happened: The stars of the night for the Bucks were Caron Butler (big tip-in with 24 seconds to play), O.J. Mayo (28 points, 4-4 on threes), and Gary Neal (23 points, 4-5 on threes off the bench).
9. Bucks 92, Celtics 85 – November 30, 2013 – BMO Harris Bradley Center
- Probably the first (and still the most) iconic sequence of the season for Giannis Antetokounmpo. You remember. He turned the ball over, then chased down Jordan Crawford to block a breakaway layup, and then flew down the center of the court for a dunk. Ten seconds flat.
- Antetokounmpo sliced into the basketball blogosphere spotlight with the aforementioned highlight, but he also grew a legion of devotees with his first really strong all-around game, going for 10 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, along with leading all players with a +16 differential.
- Also: The Bucks snapped an 11-game losing streak, and everyone felt good about the win, everyone was ready for a win, even the people who were already thinking about lottery ping pong balls. Brandon Knight almost scored a triple-double, Giannis was officially a thing, and naturally Zaza didn’t miss a free throw.
8. Bucks 108, Lakers 105 – March 27, 2014 – BMO Harris Bradley Center
- Chris Kaman showed up 25 minutes before the tip and started, Giannis Antetokounmpo was all over the place in good ways but rolled his right ankle for his first basketball injury in life, Ramon Sessions somehow missed three straight free throws to give the Lakers a chance at the end, and Ekpe Udoh blocked a Swaggy P (sorry for typing that) three at the buzzer. Things were weird, in good ways.
- The Lakers weren’t really the Lakers this season, and Kobe Bryant was out for this one, but there is always a small touch of satisfaction in the Lakers losing in Milwaukee, if only to hopefully dissuade a very, very young basketball fan to cheer for the home town team when he or she gets a little bit older.
- On that note, the Bucks may have been 1-27 against the rest of the West (they were), but after this night they were 2-0 against the Lakers. Actually, the Bucks found success largely against the classics of the NBA (Bulls, Lakers, Celtics, Pistons, Knicks, 76ers).
7. Bucks 130, 76ers 110 – February 24, 2014 – Wells Fargo Center
- Forty-three points in the second quarter, and the Bucks went to halftime with a 73-44 lead.
- At this point in the season, if you were to combine the Bucks and 76ers into one 15-man roster, it would probably be Michael Carter-Williams, Thaddeus Young, maybe Tony Wroten, and 12 or 13 Bucks. I understand the Bucks finished with a worse record, the worst record, but the 76ers hit lower lows.
- 130-110 was a very flattering final line for the 76ers here.
6. Bucks 94, Lakers 79 – December 31, 2013 – Staples Center
- The Lakers missed and missed and missed and missed and missed and missed and missed and missed and missed and missed and missed 11 straight shots and the Bucks were up 14-0 like that. They led every minute, every second of the game.
- Giannis had that absurd put-back dunk (watch at 0:46 in video above), one of my two favorite dunks of the season.
- Brandon Knight dropped a career-high 37 points, and this is right around the time that people started to feel really good about the offseason trade that netted Knight and Khris Middleton. After a full season in Milwaukee, the team might not know exactly what they have in Knight, but they should trust that the trade was a good one, and feel good that the 22 year-old point guard made a jump in his third pro season.
5. Bucks 104, Pistons 101 – January 22, 2014 – BMO Harris Bradley Center
- "It looks like my cousin. But it'll do. We're all related." – Caron Butler, on Caron Butler Bobblehead Night.
- 30 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, off the bench. – Caron Butler, on Caron Butler Bobblehead Night.
- And: Brandon Jennings sort of gave it to the Bucks in the first half, going for 20. Alas, he missed his final five shots and went 0-4 in the fourth quarter. It wouldn’t be exactly right to say that the night summed up his career in Milwaukee, but it also wouldn’t be exactly wrong.
4. Bucks 109, Wizards 105 – December 6, 2013 – Verizon Center
- Remember when the Bucks were on track to set an NBA record for most overtime games in a season? They played six overtime games in the span of 31 days during November and December. And two of those were against the Wizards. A couple weeks after dropping an overtime decision at home, the Bucks got one back on the road in overtime. (They only played one more overtime game after December, for a total of seven.)
- They nearly pitched an overtime shutout, the Bucks. The Wizards shot 0-6 from the field in the extra five minutes, and they didn’t score for more than four minutes into overtime. The Bucks won it 7-3.
- Khris Middleton started hot with 12 in the first quarter, almost as if Bucksketball was watching next to a row of his Bucks friends, and he finished with a season-best 29 points in 47 minutes (Middleton, that is).
3. Bucks 105, Celtics 98 – November 1, 2013 – TD Garden
- Such a weird, crazy, fun game. The Celtics were up by scores like 16-4, 29-14, 61-43, and 72-50. That 22-point lead came midway through the third quarter. After that, the Bucks finished on a quick 55-26 run in the game’s final 18 minutes.
- The Milwaukee bench had a combined differential of +110. Nate Wolters, playing in his second career NBA game, was a star of the fourth quarter 34-15 comeback show, punching in 7 points and 3 assists, including the game-sealing dime to Zaza Pachulia.
- Two years, two wins on Boston’s home opener.
2. Bucks 78, Bulls 74 – December 10, 2013 – United Center
- I grew up watching the Bulls in a small town in Wisconsin. My dad was from Chicago, and one of my older brothers adopted all the Chicago teams from him. All of the games were on WGN, and these were the Jordan Years, so Toni Kukoc became one of my favorite players even before he donned a Bucks jersey. I always preferred the Bulls to win in the Finals, and they always did. Yet some odd form of something like adolescent rebellion culminated in me becoming a Bucks fan, despite growing up north of Milwaukee. That is probably why a 78-74 game is so high here: A first visit to the United Center, looking at those framed Chicago Tribune championship front pages that I read on the living room back at my parent’s place, lucking into a courtside spot, John Henson making that ridiculous turnaround fadeaway, driving back on winter air late at night.
- Here are my road trip game notes.
- The Bucks made it through the season without defeating a winning team, people will say. And that is true, because the Bulls fell to 8-11 on this night. But the Bucks did beat a couple teams that ended up with winning records, including the Bulls.
1. Bucks 101, Knicks 98 – February 3, 2013 – BMO Harris Bradley Center
- Antetokounmpomania. Everyone was all in on this win.
- Assorted favorite moments of the game: 3) Giannis fourth quarter put-back dunk and his ensuing point to his family, in the stands for the first time in his NBA career. 2) Brandon Knight casual game-winning three when all they needed was one.
- 1) Giannis shaking J.R. Smith to the floor and bending around Tyson Chandler for a reverse layup as seen in dreams and here.
Writing and the Bucks. Two of my passions. So it is good to be here. I have reported on media row for just about every Bucks home game since 2009. I started writing for the Bucks in 2012. Before that, I co-founded and wrote for BrewHoop. I have written for the Milwaukee Brewers, SB Nation, ESPN Milwaukee, Slam Online, and so on. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @alexboeder or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.