Will 2-1 start lead Bucks to a playoff berth in 2012-13 season?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Bucks logo from 2006–present

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Getting off to a good start is imperative in any sport. Although three games may not be a representative sample of what might transpire over the next six months in the NBA, maybe we can offer some optimistic hope for this year’s Milwaukee Bucks fans with a little stats analysis from their first week in the 2012-13 season.

For the Milwaukee Bucks, their first three games included a decisive win over perennial playoff contender Boston in the opener, a last-second victory over a young, up-and-coming Cleveland squad, and a loss to a Memphis Grizzlies team that has made the playoffs the last two seasons.

The 2-1 start is the 23rd time in the Bucks 44-year history that they have started the season winning two of their first three games. They have now been 0-3 in three seasons; 1-2 in 12 seasons; 2-1 in 23 seasons; and 3-0 in seven seasons.

Here’s a brief look at how each three-game start has played out in the Bucks franchise history.

0-3 start: The last time the Bucks started 0-3 was in 1976-77. They were also 0-3 in 1975-76 and in their first year of existence, 1968-69. The team has never ended above .500 after starting the season 0-3 and made the playoffs in only one season (1975-76) after going 0-3.

1-2 start: The team has made the playoffs five times after a 1-2 start and have ended the season above .500 five times after winning one of their first three games.

Note: The Bucks have made the playoffs in six of the 15 years (40 percent) when they started the season 0-3 or 1-2. They finished the season above .500 in five of those 15 seasons (33 percent).

2-1 start: The Bucks made the playoffs in 15 of their 22 seasons in which they started the campaign 2-1. They finished above .500 in 14 of those 22 seasons.

3-0 start: Milwaukee made the playoffs in five of the seven years when they started 3-0. They finished above .500 in four of the seven years. The last 3-0 start was in 2005-06. The team made the playoffs that season after a .488 winning percentage in the regular season.

Note: The Bucks have made the playoffs in 20 of the 29 years when they started either 2-1 or 3-0 (69 percent). They finished the season above .500 in 18 of those 29 seasons (62.1 percent).

The Bucks have had a regular-season winning percentage of .600 or above in 13 of their 44 seasons. They got off to a 3-0 start in two of those seasons; a 2-1 start in eight seasons; and a 1-2 start in three of those years.

What will the Bucks 2-1 start this season lead to at the end of the season? Stay tuned.

Follow Jerry on twitter @StatsonTapp

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