The Milwaukee Bucks are 6-9 and third in the NBA's Central Division in the Eastern Conference. But they're not a bad team, as evidenced by their impressive wins over the excellent Miami Heat, and the talented New York Knicks.
But with losses to teams like Phoenix and Charlotte, it is difficult to ascertain whether the Bucks' big wins were flukes or not.
Brandon Jennings is an excellent player who is really carrying this team, averaging 20.1 points per game and racking up 23 points on the road against Miami. Despite these quality numbers, he is not the kind of player that can take this team from a non-contender to a playoff competitor.
Also, both the Heat and the Bucks shot miserably in this game, both under 40 percent. And Milwaukee takes way too many shots from beyond the arc. They shot five for 30 from three-point range.
On any other night, in any other environment, this absolutely terrible shooting would have been Milwaukee's demise. Miami can only do so much without Dwayne Wade, who is still injured, despite the fact that they managed to win without him against the surprisingly great Philadelphia 76ers.
This game will stand out like a sore thumb as an anomaly in both of these teams' seasons. The Bucks have little hope of making it to the playoffs unless they miraculously improve their record, which doesn't seem possible. Miami, on the other hand, should not be concerned about losses like this, but rather needs to focus on remaining healthy for the latter part of the season.
The levels of competition in the Atlantic and Southeast divisions in the Eastern Conference are drastically different. Milwaukee, who has a losing record, is tied at third place in their division with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Heat, who are still 11-5 after some eyebrow-raising losses, are also third in the Southeast, after both the Orlando Magic and the Atlanta Hawks. Shockingly, overall the Miami Heat are fifth in the Eastern Conference, which is comprised of a great many talented teams.
Milwaukee should be happy with their defensive abilities to shut down the Miami Heat, but it's difficult to view them as a serious contender in the Eastern Conference. But hey, people still think the 6-10 New York Knicks still have legitimate playoff hopes.