Playoff watch: Bucks, Heat battling
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 extremely good position to make the postseason. While nothing’s written in stone just yet, it’s close to being carved in.
With the season ending in just over a week (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 as the No. 8 seed playing Toronto, which would have home-court advantage. It’s a tough scenario for the Bucks, whose postseason prospects improve immensely if they can find their way into the No. 7 spot and a matchup with banged-up Boston. The Raptors eliminated the Bucks in five games last postseason, winning the final three games of the series.
Toronto, Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Indiana and Washington have all clinched playoff spots, while everyone below Detroit at No. 9 (Charlotte, New York, Chicago, Brooklyn, Orlando, Atlanta) is out. Miami, Milwaukee and Detroit are the only sources of intrigue left in the Eastern Conference.
Here’s the how the playoff race currently shapes up including game remaining (GR) for each team:
Washington: Tuesday — at Houston; Thursday — at Cleveland; Friday — vs. Atlanta
Miami: Tuesday — vs. Atlanta; Wednesday — at Atlanta; Friday — at New York
Milwaukee: Tuesday — vs. Boston; Thursday — vs. Brooklyn; Saturday — at New York
Detroit: Wednesday — vs. Philadelphia; Friday — vs. Dallas; Sunday — at Memphis
THE BUCKS PERSPECTIVE
The Bucks and Heat are both a game behind Washington, but Miami has the tiebreaker after winning the season series. Fortunately, the Bucks have a four-game lead on ninth-place Detroit. Their battle with the Heat for the No. 7 spot could come right down to the wire: The Heat get lowly Atlanta twice this week, as well as another lottery team in the Knicks. A matchup with Boston looks intimidating for the Bucks on paper, but Boston’s roster is in rough shape with Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart both likely on the shelf until the playoffs.
The website playoffstatus.com currently calculates Milwaukee’s playoff chances for each seed as the following:
3 – N/A (last week: less than 1 percent)
4 – N/A (last week: less than 1 percent)
5 – Less than 1 percent (last week: 2 percent)
6 – 16 percent (last week: 9 percent)
7 – 31 percent (last week: 22 percent)
8 – 53 percent (last week: 64 percent)
Out – 1 percent (last week: less than 1 percent)