Here are some potentially deceiving games that could cause the Milwaukee Bucks to slip up against lottery-bound teams if they’re not careful.
The Milwaukee Bucks have played incredible basketball to start the 2018-19 season, solidifying their status as an elite team. They are among the best teams in the league, despite having the second-toughest schedule in the NBA thus far. In short, not only are they winning games, but they are winning games against good teams.
However, sometimes for great teams like the Bucks, it is not the games against good opponents that they lose, but rather games against lottery-bound teams. Often times, these teams are underestimated and taken lightly.
Against other contending teams, there is no margin for error. Preparedness is required prior to the game, as are full effort and production during the game starting at tip-off.
But for the games against weaker competition, this often changes. The better team knows it doesn’t need to play its best to win the game, which can lead to a care-free attitude, lazy preparation and a lack of energy. Conversely, the lesser teams knows it must play its best for any chance to win the game.
This can lead to a more likely upset than one might expect, and a situation often referred to as a trap game. No elite team is immune to them.
In the 2015-16 season, the Golden State Warriors went 73-9, statistically making them the most successful regular season team of all time in NBA history. Of those nine losses the Warriors had that season, only one came against a team with a top-4 seed (Spurs), and three came against teams that won 33 or fewer games.
Since the Bucks are an elite team, they need to watch out for these trap games. They will face a lot of these lower echelon teams over the next several months as they currently have the easiest remaining schedule (in terms of winning percentage of opponents) in the NBA. This only amplifies the likelihood of trap games for the Milwaukee Bucks.
The following factors were taken into consideration when determining the biggest trap games remaining for the Bucks in 2018:
Strength of Opponent
First and foremost, the quality of the team must be taken into consideration. Since Milwaukee is among the best in the league, a majority of its opponents will be worse. For an opponent to pass as a potential trap game they must be a significantly weaker team.
This is a fairly subjective stipulation, so an objective boundary line will simply consider teams currently in eighth place or worse.
Days rest refers to a team’s schedule and how many games they did (or did not) have leading up to the trap game. Naturally this becomes a component for both teams.
Location of game
Obviously home games are inherently advantageous as opposed to away games for countless reasons. Generally, in the NBA regular season, home teams win about 60 percent of the time, which is the highest for any of the major sports in the United States.
Travel takes both days rest and location of game into account, while providing a little more context.