Bucks

Bucks’ Upcoming Slate Poses Significant Playoff-Seeding Ramifications

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The Milwaukee Bucks coasted to the top record in the Eastern Conference the past two seasons.

But not this year.

The Bucks sit in third place, 3.5 games behind the current top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers and three games behind the Brooklyn Nets. While things don’t look promising to even have home court in the Eastern Conference Semifinals come playoff time, a sliver of hope exists.

The hope lies in the fact Milwaukee still has four games (all at home) against the 76ers and Nets combined. The Bucks play Philadelphia tonight and Saturday and the second-place Nets on May 2 and May 4 at Fiserv Forum.

It won’t be easy for the Bucks to make up three games barring at least three wins in their four matchups vs. Philly and Brooklyn.

The Bucks won their first game at Philadelphia, but it took a monster comeback despite the 76ers playing without Joel Embiid. Milwaukee trailed by 19 at halftime and needed a Giannis takeover in OT.

Milwaukee could see Brooklyn with no Kevin Durant or James Harden. Harden had a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury and Durant has been banged up all season.

If Milwaukee can find a way to win at least three of their four matchups vs. the top-two teams in the East, the door for a top-two seed would be open.

Milwaukee has five back-to-backs and will be at a rest disadvantage in five of their final 15 games. The Bucks will have a rest advantage for their first game against the Sixers, but the second will be the start of a stretch of eight games in 12 days, including their two games against the Nets.

Milwaukee has lost their last two games entering tonight’s matchup with Philadelphia, including a heartbreaker to Phoenix on Monday. The Bucks lost on a controversial foul call on the Suns’ final possession.

While the final possession vs. Phoenix ended up being decided on a questionable foul on P.J. Tucker, the defense played by Jrue Holiday that possession was phenomenal. So while the Bucks lost, the game and that possession offered a glimpse of excitement. Holiday’s defense was phenomenal and Tucker’s defensive versatility was on display.

The Bucks seemed to sacrifice depth while adding top-end talent with the Holiday acquisition. But at the trade deadline Jon Horst acquired the versatile Tucker and signed Jeff Teague in the buyout market. The Bucks hope those acquisitions can help them get over the hump this year in the Eastern Conference. While the regular season hasn’t been dominant like the previous two seasons, the Bucks hope they are built for playoff basketball.

One way to help themselves for the playoffs is netting at least the second seed. This stretch won’t be easy, but it could greatly define the course ahead for The Deer. If the Bucks can play their best basketball now, they could be playing with homecourt advantage through the Conference Finals at the very least.

While Milwaukee doesn’t necessarily need homecourt, it would certainly benefit them. The Bucks are about to see where they stack up heading into the playoffs and this stretch of games will dictate Milwaukee’s path in the postseason.

All four games vs. teams ahead of them are at the Fiserv Forum…win all four and the Bucks might once again be the top-seed in the East.

Follow us on Twitter @BucksLead for the latest Bucks news and insight. 

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About Mitchell Skurzewski

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