NBA: 3 things to watch for across the league in February

NBA Ben Simmons and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NBA Ben Simmons and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks chasing a 70-win season

Sitting on top of the NBA for the second straight year, Milwaukee is once again looking like the team to beat in the East with a 41-7 record through the first half of the season.

Led by the reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks are easily the best two-way team in the league. They are still yet to post a score under 100 points in any game this season, averaging a league-high 120.0 points-per-game throughout their impressive streak. Defensively, they keep teams to an average just over 107 points-per-game and their point differential is a whopping 12.8 points-per-game on average. This differential is more than double any other team in the Eastern Conference.

Of course, the Bucks will be keeping one eye firmly fixed on the playoffs and will try to get some well-earned rest into their starters as the season wears on.

But it still begs the question, how good could the Bucks season be?

The 2015-16 Golden State Warriors and the 1995-96 Bulls are the only two teams in NBA history to record a 70-win season, meaning Milwaukee has a great chance to join some exclusive company.

With 35 games to go in the regular season for the Bucks, they would need to at worst complete their season with a 29-6 record over this next stretch. They play 12 of these games across the month of February and could prove to be make or break in their quest for 70 wins.

They face tough assignments against both the consistent Denver Nuggets and resurgent Oklahoma City Thunder, adding tough road-trips to both Toronto and Indiana.

The most intriguing matchups, however, will come against their conference rivals, the 76ers, who the Bucks meet twice in February. The 76ers completely outclassed the Bucks on Christmas Day so it will be interesting to see how Giannis and co. bounce back in these marquee games.

Milwaukee’s 60-win campaign in last year’s 2018-19 season was the first time they had cracked 60-wins in a season since the 1980-81 season and they look set to eclipse that again this year.

Giannis is looking more and more likely to win back-to-back MVP awards as the best player in the NBA, Khris Middleton is putting together an all-star worthy season and a number of other Bucks players are putting up consistent contributions on both offense and defense.

Any way you look at it, this is shaping up to be a historic season for the Bucks, despite being classed as a ‘small-market’ team. February could very well make or break in their chase for 70 wins and will be an intriguing statistic to watch as the month rolls on.