Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 4/18/12
"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 to score 121 points. That was Washington's second-highest point-total of its entire season. "We didn't have a good night," Skiles said on FOX Sports Wisconsin. "We didn't have a high-energy game. Our defense, even though it hasn't been good, it hasn't been this bad. They stung us." The night got even worse for the Bucks when they got back to the locker room and found out that the two teams they're chasing for the playoffs, the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks, both won their games Wednesday. Milwaukee is now 2.5 games behind the 76ers and are essentially unable to catch the Knicks this late anymore with 3.5 games separating them and New York holding the tiebreaker.For the Bucks to even have a shot at the postseason, they'll have to win out in their final five regular season games. That final stretch begins Thursday night in Indiana against a Pacers team that just came into Milwaukee on Saturday and beat the Bucks."(Thursday) is an absolute must-win for us," Skiles said. "We have to find a way to get that game."Monta Ellis led the way for Milwaukee with 31 points and six assists, but second-year Wizards guard Jordan Crawford finished with 32 points to give Washington only its 16th win of the season."They deserved to win," Skiles said. "They played harder than us, they played better than us. We just had tremendous difficulty all night long of controlling penetration. They have some talented offensive players and they took it to us."The Wizards were aided by the return of big-man Nene, who had missed their previous 10 games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Nene came off the bench and had 14 points, two blocks and four rebounds in just 18 minutes."I thought Nene did a nice job," Skiles said. "But he hit a couple jumpers and it didn't seem like we acknowledged that. We just kept playing off of him instead of crowding him."Brandon Jennings had a good offensive game with 25 points and four assists, but Crawford's big scoring night and John Wall's double-double (14 points, 10 assists) was too much to overcome."They just had a lot more energy than us on both ends," Jennings said. "I guess they're just going out with pride. Even though their season is over, they're still playing for the pride."Though the Bucks can't afford a loss to any team at this point, they will have an opportunity to face the 76ers next Wednesday in Milwaukee. If the Bucks win their next three games leading up to that and are still alive in the playoff race, that game would likely end up determining which team makes the playoffs."It's going to be tough," Jennings said. "We'll have to play every game like it's our last."Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
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