The Milwaukee Bucks have been climbing the Eastern Conference standings with their 11-4 record in the month of March. Khris Middleton's 16.9 points per game and 44 percent shooting from downtown in March has led Milwaukee from the outskirts of the playoff chase to serious contention for the conference's fifth seed.
Milwaukee is currently tied with the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks for the fifth seed with a 37-36 record. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks visit Indiana on April 6, but with playoff seeding on the line, every game has so much meaning the rest of the way.
FOX Sports Wisconsin takes a look at the recent performances as well as the road ahead for the other playoff contenders in the East:
Toronto Raptors (44-29)
Record: 44-29, 4th seed
Last week: 3-0
This week: vs. Orlando (27-46), vs. Charlotte (33-40), vs. Indiana (37-36), vs. Philadelphia (27-46)
Outlook: After posting an average 6-5 record in February, Toronto is on a roll. The Raptors locked up a playoff spot during their current five game winning streak and will most likely earn the 3- or 4-seed.
Steve MitchellSteve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks (37-36)
Record: 37-36, 5th seed
Last week: 0-4
This week: vs. Phoenix (22-52), @Philadelphia (27-46), @Chicago (35-39), @Brooklyn (16-57)
Outlook: Injuries to starters Paul Millsap, Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha have Atlanta on a seven-game skid after being blown out by the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. Dwight Howard's team is reeling and finds itself only two games ahead of the eighth-seeded Heat. However, the Hawks face four non-playoff teams this week, so they should be able to find their groove again if their starters return.
Milwaukee Bucks (37-36)
Record: 37-36, 6th seed
Last week: 3-1
This week: @Charlotte (33-40), @Boston (48-26), vs. Detroit (34-39), vs. Dallas (31-41)
Outlook: The Bucks picked up two wins over playoff teams last week in a 93-90 victory in Portland and the defeat of the struggling Hawks on Sunday. Milwaukee has beaten upcoming opponent Detroit twice this season, but it lost its only matchup against Boston, Charlotte and Dallas earlier this year. With Atlanta facing teams this week with nothing to play for but lottery balls, this might be the biggest test of the year for the Bucks if they want the 5-seed.
Sergio EstradaUSA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers (37-36)
Record: 37-36, 7th seed
Last week: 2-2
This week: vs. Minnesota (28-44), @Memphis (40-33), @Toronto (44-29), @Cleveland (47-25)
Outlook: Indiana Pacers fans should be a little worried. Road games this week in Cleveland, Memphis and Toronto won't be a walk in the park, and hosting the Timberwolves isn't an automatic win either. The Pacers will likely be hanging on to their playoff hopes this time next week.
Miami Heat (35-38)
Record: 35-38, 8th seed
Last week: 1-2
This week: @Detroit (34-39), @New York (27-46), vs. New York (27-46), vs. Denver (35-38)
Outlook: Miami is the best story in the NBA this season. The franchise's first year without Dwyane Wade since 2003-04 started with a record of 11-30. Since then, the Heat are 24-8 and 1/2 game in front of Wade's current team, the Chicago Bulls. A home-and-home series with the New York Knicks this week shouldn't stop Miami's momentum.
Winslow TownsonWinslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bulls (35-39)
Record: 35-39, 9th place
Last week: 2-2
This week: vs. Cleveland (47-25), vs. Atlanta (37-36), @New Orleans (31-42)
Outlook: Chicago took Toronto to overtime last week and lost, but wins over Detroit and Milwaukee have the Bulls only 1/2 game out of the playoffs. It's hard to bet against Wade and Jimmy Butler, even with the Bulls' tough schedule in the final two weeks.
Detroit Pistons (34-39)
Record: 34-39, 10th place
Last week: 0-3
This week: @New York (27-46), vs. Miami (35-38) , vs. Brooklyn (16-57), @Milwaukee (37-36)
Outlook: The Pistons reached the playoffs as the Eastern Conference's eighth seed last season after posting 44 wins. It looks like Andre Drummond's team will come up short of that mark this season, but hope of a second consecutive postseason berth is not gone. The Pistons will likely have to play perfect basketball this week to stay in postseason contention.