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5 stats to know as Bucks, Lakers keep rolling

Milwaukee and Los Angeles are tied for the NBA's best record at 22-3

The Lakers and Bucks, for varying reasons, remain the two hottest teams in the NBA.

For Milwaukee, their sizzle is based on their win streak, which reached 16 games in a 127-112 romp against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Bucks pulled that win off without defending Kia MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who missed the game because of soreness in his right quadriceps.

Los Angeles has won five in a row overall, but more notably has 12 straight road wins after last night’s 96-87 victory against the scrappy Magic.

As these two teams continue to burn up the NBA standings, we’ve got a couple of numbers you should know about each of them.

* * *

1. Milwaukee’s winning streak is the longest in the NBA this season and the franchise’s longest since the 1970-71 season. The Bucks (22-3) are tied with the Los Angeles Lakers (22-3) for the league’s best record. Should both teams keep rolling as they have been, the Dec. 19 showdown between the teams in Milwaukee (8 ET, TNT) will provide an early tie-breaker.

Bucks’ most consecutive wins in a season
First win Last win Number of games
Feb. 6, 1971 March 8, 1971 20
Oct. 24, 1970 Nov. 25, 1970 16
Nov. 10, 2019 Dec. 11, 2019 16 (Current streak)
Feb. 28, 1973 March 27, 1973 14
Oct. 17, 1973 Nov. 13, 1973 13
Jan. 26, 1982 Feb. 21, 1982 12
The NBA’s longest winning streak in history is 33 games by the 1971-72 Lakers.

Win streaks of this length are a good omen for playoff success — seven of the 12 teams to win 18 or more games in a row in NBA history have gone on to win the NBA title. For the record, the longest win streaks in NBA history are as follows: 33 games (1971-72 Lakers), 27 games (2012-13 Heat), 24 games (2015-16 Warriors), 22 games (2007-08 Rockets) and the Bucks’ streak from 1970-71.

2. Not since the days of Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Gail Goodrich has L.A. been rolling like this on the road. Last night’s victory against Orlando gives Los Angeles its longest road win streak since the 1971-72 season, when the Lakers set the mark for the longest win streak ever (33 games) en route to winning the NBA championship.

Most consecutive road wins, Lakers history
First win Last win Streak
Nov. 6, 1971 Jan. 7, 1972 16
Nov. 1, 2019 Dec. 11, 2019 12*
Oct. 15, 1972 Dec. 20, 1972 12
Feb. 15, 2000 March 13, 2000 10
*=Active streak

As ESPN Stats and Info notes, the previous three times the Lakers recorded double-digit win streaks, the team advanced to The Finals.

3. As mentioned above, the Lakers are also in the midst of a five-game overall win streak. That is the third win streak of five or more games this season for L.A., which, based on recent history, is the harbinger of at the very least a playoff spot.

This five-game run marks the 12th regular season since 1999-2000 in which the Lakers have had multiple win spanning at least five games in a single regular season.

Here’s a look at how those seasons panned out each time.

Lakers’ win streaks of at least 5 games, single season (since 1999-2000)
Season Number of win streaks Playoff result
2019-20 3 TBD
2012-13 2 lost 4-0 to Spurs in first round
2011-12 2 lost 4-1 to Thunder in West semis
2010-11 6 lost 4-0 to Mavs in West semis
2009-10 4 won 4-3 vs. Celtics in NBA Finals
2008-09 7 won 4-1 vs. Magic in NBA Finals
2007-08 2 lost 4-2 to Celtics in NBA Finals
2003-04 4 lost 4-1 to Pistons in NBA Finals
2002-03 4 lost 4-2 to Spurs in West semis
2001-02 5 won 4-0 vs. Nets in NBA Finals
2000-01 3 won 4-1 vs. Sixers in NBA Finals
1999-2000 4 won 4-2 vs. Pacers in NBA Finals

4. The Lakers and Bucks both sit at 22-3, which puts both teams in some unique air.

Per Elias Sports, this is just the second time in NBA history that two teams have started 22-3 or better through the first 25 games in a season. The last time it happened was in 1993-94, when the Houston Rockets and Seattle SuperSonics both started out 22-3.

That season couldn’t have been a sharper contrast in finishes, though, for the teams. The Rockets, behind the play of MVP Hakeem Olajuwon, went on to win the first of their two consecutive championships. As for the Sonics, it wasn’t such a great finish — they became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 8-seeded team in a playoff series as they lost 3-2 to the upstart Denver Nuggets.

5. Among some NBA fans, the long-held belief is that the Eastern Conference is overall more weak than the Western Conference. (And if you think that, the latest edition of our Power Rankings would like a word.)

The Bucks haven’t just been filling up on East wins, though, this season. Last night’s win against the Pelicans improved Milwaukee to 8-1 against West foes, which is the best mark in the East. And, if you want to take it back to the start of the 2018-19 season, the Bucks are tied with the Raptors when it comes to an East team having success against West opponents.

Best records vs. West teams by East teams (since start of 2018-19 season)
Rank Team Record
T-1. Bucks 28-11 (.718)
T-1. Raptors 28-11 (.718)
3. Sixers 26-14 (.650)
4. Pacers 20-17 (.541)