Playoff watch: Bucks primed to move up this week
The Milwaukee Bucks are looking to make the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time in 14 years. The Bucks are currently in good position to make the postseason, but nothing’s written in stone just yet.
With the season ending in a month (April 11), here’s the latest look at Milwaukee’s playoff chances and the week ahead.
IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY
Milwaukee would be in the playoffs, but as the No. 8 seed having to play top-seeded Toronto, which would have home-court advantage. The Raptors knocked the Bucks out of last year’s postseason in six games.
The first two seeds in the Eastern Conference are all but locked up. The Bucks are one of six teams realistically battling for the third through eight seeds. Detroit is a playoff hopeful, but in the number nine spot are five games behind Milwaukee in the standings. Indiana, the current No. 3 seed, is only 3 1/2 games up on Milwaukee. There’s a lot of potential movement in the final month of play.
Here’s the how the playoff race currently shapes up including game remaining (GR) for each team:
It’s a tough week for the teams who would have home-court advantage as things currently stand. The Pacers play three Eastern playoff teams while the Cavaliers play three games all on the road (however, two are against non-playoff teams). Washington, in the No. 5 slot, will face three likely playoff teams, although two of those are at home.
Indiana: Tuesday – at Philadelphia; Thursday – vs. Toronto; Saturday – at Washington
Cleveland: Tuesday – at Phoenix; Thursday — at Portland; Saturday — at Chicago
Washington: Tuesday — vs. Minnesota; Wednesday — at Boston; Saturday — vs. Indiana
Philadelphia: Tuesday — vs. Indiana; Thursday — at New York; Friday — vs. New Jersey
Miami: Monday — at Portland; Wednesday — at Sacramento; Friday — at L.A. Lakers
Milwaukee: Monday — at Memphis; Wednesday — at Orlando; Saturday — vs. Atlanta
Detroit: Tuesday — at Utah; Thursday — at Denver; Saturday — at Portland
THE BUCKS PERSPECTIVE
If Milwaukee is to make a move in the standings, this is the week to do it. The three teams the Bucks face are all vying for positioning in the lottery not the postseason. However, two of those games are on the road, where Milwaukee is just 14-17 this season.
Two of the teams Milwaukee will play have already been eliminated from the playoffs — Memphis, which owns the worst record in the NBA (18-48) and Atlanta (20-47), which has the third-worst record. Orlando has the same record as Atlanta but is alive for the postseason only through potential tiebreakers. By Wednesday, the Magic could be guaranteed in the lottery as well.
The website playoffstatus.com currently calculates Milwaukee’s playoff chances for each seed as the following:
3 – 1 percent
4 – 3 percent
5 – 6 percent
6 – 11 percent
7 – 23 percent
8 – 54 percent
Out – 2 percent