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Milwaukee Bucks' playoffs hopes dashed


PhilBoxing.com


TRAILING by three games with four games left in their regular season schedule, the Milwaukee Bucks' playoffs aspirations is on death watch.

And no thanks to a brutal 118-109 pounding at the hands of the Indiana Pacers Thursday night at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Bucks may have taken one of its few remaining breaths.

The loss pushed Milwaukee's win-loss record to 29-33 and only a monumental collapse by the 32-30 Philadelphia 76ers will allow the Bucks to somehow sneak in the playoffs as the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference.

And that minor miracle will be rewarded by a first-round best-of-7 series against either the Chicago Bulls or the Miami Heat.

The 41-22 Pacers, meanwhile, locked up the 3rd seed in the East and guaranteed themselves homecourt advantage in the opening round. Their possible opponents include the Boston Celtics, the Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic.

Indy employed a balanced assault to derail the sliding Bucks, who lost their third game in a row. Danny Granger dropped 29 points, George Hill poured in 22 while David West added 21 for the Pacers, who shot 47.3 percent from the field (43-of-91 shots) including 7-of-17 beyond the arc.

The Bucks put up a decent fight and led by six -- 40-34 -- at the 7:26 mark of the second quarter. But they couldn't sustain their momentum. And neither could they stop the Pacers who went on a rampage that produced a massive 86-71 bubble late in the third quarter.

"They're a good club. They are 19 games over now, so you can't fall behind like that, You have to stay with them. Our overall approach early in the game wasn't good enough for a game like this against a team of that caliber. It's not that we didn't play hard, it's that you need an extraordinary effort against a team like this, not an ordinary one. It's a great club. They will be a tough out in the playoffs, "Bucks coach Scott Skiles said of the Pacers.

Brandon Jennings led Milwaukee's unsuccessful charge with 27 points. Mike Dunleavy darted off the bench with 23 while Monta Ellis chipped in 15. The Bucks shot only 42 percent from the field (37-of-88) and 6-of-20 from beyond the 3-point line (33.3 percent). (Homer D. Sayson)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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