Toronto (32-49) at Milwaukee (41-40)

  • Game info: 8:00 pm EDT Wed Apr 14, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Milwaukee Bucks will try to clinch home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs when they host the Toronto Raptors in their regular-season finale.

The Bucks are currently tied with the Miami Heat for fourth place in the Eastern Conference, one game ahead of the New Orleans Hornets. Milwaukee would win a tiebreaker against Miami, but not against New Orleans.

The Heat close their season against the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday, while the Hornets will visit the Washington Wizards. If the three teams finished tied, Milwaukee would get the fourth seed by having the best conference record.

Milwaukee could have clinched the fourth spot on Monday, but it fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers 93-89.

“This hurts,” Bucks forward Keith Van Horn said. “It was in our hands and we lost that opportunity. Now we’ve got to go out and win and hope the others lose.”

Desmond Mason scored 25 points to lead the Bucks, who shot 38.8 percent from the field.

Michael Redd, who had only 12 points, said the Bucks have several concerns as the playoffs approach. He was particularly dismayed that Milwaukee allowed 27 fast-break points and was outscored 24-16 in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve got to execute and figure out what we’re going to do in the fourth quarter,” Redd said. “The fourth quarter is going to be big in the playoffs.”

The Raptors, who will miss the playoffs for the second straight season, closed their home season with an 87-78 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.

After Wednesday’s season finale, the Raptors will head into an offseason of uncertainty. General manager Glen Grunwald was fired April 1, and team president Richard Peddie has said a new general manager will decide whether coach Kevin O’Neill returns or not.

O’Neill could be bought out of his contract as soon as Thursday.

“I don’t have a problem with him,” Toronto forward Vince Carter said. “If I had a problem with him I’d voice my opinion to them, but I don’t have a problem.”

Earlier Tuesday, O’Neill acknowledged he has thought about what he’ll do if he’s fired.

“If I end up getting fired I might just go ahead and watch my son play baseball for a year and do some broadcasting and just chill out a little bit,” said O’Neill, whose 17-year-old son lives in Arizona.

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