The Bucks, who are fourth in the Eastern Conference, have a 1 1/2 -game lead over the Miami Heat and a two-game lead over the New Orleans Hornets. Only the top four teams in each conference are assured of homecourt in the opening round.
Damon Jones had 23 points and 11 assists Tuesday, and Michael Redd added 21 to lead the Bucks to their third straight win, a 103-98 victory over the two-time defending Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets.
“This was a huge win for us,” Redd said. “This is a team that no one expected to do anything at the beginning of the season and for us to get 40 wins and possible home-court advantage will blow a lot of people’s minds.”
Desmond Mason scored 18 points for the Bucks, who shot 50.7 percent from the field to win for the fourth time in five games.
With four games remaining in the regular season, the Bucks are focused on securing the coveted fourth spot.
“We are not just being content to be in the playoffs,” Jones said. “We are going to try to do a good job and get the fourth position and after that we are going to try and win that first-round series. If we keep playing with this intensity, it is a goal we can attain.”
While the Bucks have already clinched a playoff spot, the Wizards will miss the postseason for the seventh consecutive year.
Washington had lost five straight before rallying to beat the Boston Celtics 112-102 on Sunday. Gilbert Arenas shot 6-of-9 from 3-point range and finished with 32 points, and Larry Hughes contributed 31 points.
“We play off each other pretty well,” Hughes said. “I know when it’s time to get him going and he knows when it’s time to get me going. When we’re making shots, it gets everyone else involved and allows everything to open up for us.”