The Milwaukee Bucks have clinched a playoff berth. They’re still looking to earn the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and a series in the first round against Cleveland.
The Bucks play their final home game of the regular season when they meet the defending Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons.
Milwaukee clinched a playoff spot despite a 120-114 loss to lowly Atlanta on Saturday. The Bucks got in by virtue of Philadelphia’s loss at Orlando.
“It’s good to be in the playoffs, but our sights were not set on just clinching the playoffs,” Bucks coach Terry Stotts said.
The Bucks are in a three-way tie for sixth place with Chicago and Indiana in the crowded Eastern Conference standings. They are one game behind fifth-place Washington.
Milwaukee closes the regular season Tuesday against the Wizards and can guarantee itself the fifth seed by winning its final two games.
“It’s a crazy league,” Stotts said. “We win the next two games and we’re still the fifth seed.”
The Bucks are 0-3 against the Pistons this season despite the outstanding play of Michael Redd in those games. Milwaukee’s leading scorer is averaging 33.7 points on nearly 54 percent shooting against one of the top defensive teams in the NBA.
Detroit set a franchise record with its 64th victory, 103-97 over New York on Sunday. The Pistons scored the game’s first 15 points and led by as many as 27 in the first quarter to break the record of 63 wins set by the 1988-89 NBA championship team.
“That’s a great feat,” guard Chauncey Billups said. “It feels good to accomplish that, especially in a storied franchise like this with the Bad Boys.”
Richard Hamilton scored 28 points and Billups handed out 11 assists for Detroit, which played its starters through most of the first quarter to build a 40-18 advantage.
“We were running around having fun,” Billups said. “We were pretty much playing preseason minutes, which is working out well.”
Detroit is trying to add to its franchise record of 27 road victories. The Pistons’ 27-13 road record is second in the NBA to San Antonio’s 28-12 mark.