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Raptors-Bucks Preview

AP - Sports

While Brandon Jennings helped keep the Milwaukee Bucks' slim postseason hopes alive over the weekend, coach Scott Skiles' team is on the verge of elimination.

In need of a ton of help, the Bucks could have their eyes partially fixed on another matchup as try for a seventh consecutive victory over the visiting Toronto Raptors on Monday night.

Sitting three games behind Philadelphia for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference with three to play, Milwaukee (30-33) needs to win out and hope the 76ers go 0-3 in order to make it in, which would occur by virtue of a tiebreaker.

"We can't lose any sleep over what (the 76ers) do," Skiles said. "We created the position we're in and we, ultimately me, are responsible for the position we're in. We need to now win out and see what happens."

The Bucks host Philadelphia on Wednesday before concluding their schedule the following night at Boston. The 76ers play at New Jersey - a club long eliminated from postseason contention - on Monday night.

"I've been in this position before on other teams, and it kind of hurts," Milwaukee center Drew Gooden told the league's official website. "But all you can do is handle your upcoming games and see where you're at. Until you're mathematically out of the playoffs, all you can do is keep fighting."

The Bucks do seem to have a favorable matchup with Toronto (22-42) coming to town. Milwaukee has averaged 102.5 points while taking the last six matchups in the series, including a pair of road wins this season.

Since falling 91-87 on Nov. 1, 2008, the Bucks have also outscored the Raptors by an average of 12.6 points during a five-game winning streak at the Bradley Center.

After dropping five of six, Milwaukee seemed to get back on track Saturday with a 106-95 home win over the Nets. Jennings posted 30 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals while Ersan Ilyasova had 17 points and 17 boards for the Bucks, who scored a whopping 33 fast-break points.

Jennings has struggled against the Raptors this season, totaling 22 points in the two meetings while shooting 7 of 26 - including a 1-of-10 effort from 3-point range. Ilyasova missed a 105-99 win at the Air Canada Centre on Feb. 8 due to back spasms, but had 31 points and 12 boards in a 105-99 victory at Toronto on March 11.

The Raptors are coming off their seventh loss in nine games and third in a row, falling 76-73 at Detroit on Sunday.

Toronto, which took a 34-29 lead into the break as the teams combined for the league's second-lowest first-half output of the season, had a chance to send the game to overtime but Linas Kleiza missed a wide-open 3-pointer as time expired.

"LK had a great look at the end of the game and that's all we can ask for," coach Dwane Casey said.

Already without Andrea Bargnani, who was shut down for the season April 13 with a strained left calf, the Raptors are unlikely to have point guard Jose Calderon over their final two games. Calderon has been out since suffering a cut above his right eye during a 93-75 loss to Philadelphia on April 11.

Toronto concludes its schedule Thursday at home versus New Jersey.

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