Posted April 19, 2012 on AP on Fox
No one is playing better with the playoffs approaching than the Indiana Pacers, who are on the verge of locking up homecourt advantage in the first round. The Milwaukee Bucks' hopes of sneaking into the postseason, meanwhile, are looking worse by the day. The Pacers try to win their seventh straight game on Thursday night when they host the Bucks, who have lost four of five to fall 2 1/2 games out of the Eastern Conference's eighth spot. Indiana (40-22) has won 10 of its 11 games this month to put itself comfortably in third place in the East, but none of its six straight came against a team currently in playoff position until Tuesday. The Pacers shot just 41.6 percent from the field, but hit 13 of 24 from 3-point range to earn a 102-97 victory in Philadelphia. "The talent we have on this team is really high,'' said Danny Granger, who hit 6 of 8 3s to finish with a game-high 24 points. "We just execute. We just play the game the right away.'' The win over the eighth-place 76ers was a big favor to Milwaukee (29-32), which came into Wednesday's action trailing Philadelphia by one game in the loss column for the final playoff spot. But while the reeling Sixers bounced back by winning 103-87 in Cleveland, the Bucks let Washington shoot 55.7 percent in a 121-112 road loss. "Wrong time to have a bad game,'' Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. "It's an absolute must-win for us. We have to find a way to get that game." The Bucks now have little margin for error in their final five games, but could catch a break after facing the Pacers. Their next three are at home - games against woeful New Jersey and Toronto and a potential showdown with Philadelphia - before a finale in Boston against a Celtics team that likely won't have anything to play for. Boston clinched the Atlantic on Wednesday to guarantee itself a top-four seed, but Indiana can wrap up the No. 3 seed and homecourt with one more win combined with one Atlanta loss. Granger is certainly doing his part to lead the way. He's averaged 22.5 points this month, shooting 49.2 percent from the field, 50.8 percent from beyond the arc and 94.9 percent from the free-throw line. He's 11 for 15 from 3-point range in the last two games. "You get in one of those modes where you feel like all of them are going in,'' said Granger, who's averaged 20.8 points in Indiana's four consecutive wins versus Milwaukee. Granger has averaged 24.6 points in his last seven home games against the Bucks. If Milwaukee plans on stopping its slide against the Pacers, it'll need to do a better job defending Roy Hibbert. The All-Star big man has averaged 16.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in Indiana's four straight wins in the series, including 23 and 14 in Saturday's 105-99 victory at the Bradley Center. Monta Ellis has only been with Milwaukee for two of those losses to the Pacers, but Indiana seems to have a good handle on defending him. Ellis has been held to an average of 16.6 points during a personal five-game losing streak to the Pacers since scoring a combined 81 in two victories.

Bucks playoff hopes take hit with loss

Danny Granger scored 29 points to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 118-109 on Thursday night and clinch homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs. George Hill had 22 points and eight assists and David West added 21 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists for the Pacers, who won their seventh straight and 11th of 12. The Pacers have now scored at least...

Pacers F: 'We take it a little personal'

Danny Granger addressed the lack of attention the team -- which is currently the third seed in the East -- receives from the national media.

Bucks lose, have pointed words toward Pacers

It's official. The Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers do not like each other. At the moment, that appears to have even turned into a mutual disrespect towards the other. While the Bucks' playoff hopes were perhaps destroyed entirely with the loss in Indiana on Thursday night, Milwaukee didn't go down without a fight. Literally.The first instance happened early in the...

David West went south

There were only 5 games in the NBA last night which means it’s almost like a day off for me today. Next year it’s going to be sooo much easier when there’s not 11-13 games a night 4 times a week. That’s a lot of blurbing to do, son! Since last night was a bit slow I want to take the opportunity to thank those of you who have donated to hecmanhoops to help keep this blog going...

Bucks pick 'the wrong time for a bad night'

"It was the wrong time to have a bad night." Those were the words of Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles after his team lost in Washington against the Wizards, who have the NBA's second-worst record. With the Bucks desperately needing a win in order to stay alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race, Milwaukee struggled all night defensively, allowing the Wizards...

Wizards 121, Bucks 112

Jordan Crawford equaled a season-high with 32 points, and John Wall had 14 points and 10 assists Wednesday night as the Washington Wizards dealt the Milwaukee Bucks a crucial 121-112 defeat in their attempt for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee began the day 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia for eighth place in the East, but lost a game as the Sixers won...

WE Recap: Wizards vs. Bucks - 4/19/12

1 2 3 4 FINAL Bucks 31 31 19 30 112 Wizards 28 32 28 33 121 TOP PERFORMERS Wizards Bucks Jordan Crawford PTS 32 Monta Ellis PTS 31 Jan Vesely REB 10 Drew Gooden REB 12 John...

The Starting Lineup: Playoff Picture Inches Closer To Completion

Another Bucks game, another blown opportunity. Milwaukee essentially sealed their lottery fate by giving up 121 points to the Wizards, who had scored a total of 241 in their last three games combined. As usual, offense wasn’t the problem for Milwaukee. They scored 112 themselves, including a 31-point fourth quarter. It doesn’t matter how many you score when the opposition...

Bucks-Wizards Preview

It's been a rare luxury to have three consecutive days off during this condensed NBA season. The Milwaukee Bucks' layoff may have come at the perfect time to gear up for one final, frantic postseason push. The Bucks begin a stretch of six games in nine days to close the regular season Wednesday night against the host Washington Wizards. Trying to catch either New York or...
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