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Magic can clinch playoff spot with win vs. Bucks

Win and in.

That’s the situation the Magic find themselves in when fighting for a top-6 playoff spot in the East on Sunday against the Bucks at Kia Center (Bally Sports Florida, 1).

It’s also the situation that Orlando found itself in when Jamahl Mosley’s squad entered Friday’s contest at Philadelphia before falling by 12 points for their third straight loss.

But that’s in the past and — thanks to the Cavaliers defeating the Pacers the same night — all the Magic need to do to secure their spot in a first-round playoff series is to defeat Milwaukee.

“We just need one win and we’re good,” forward Franz Wagner said Friday night. “One more game. [We’ve] just got to focus on that one and get a win.”

A top-6 seed locks in a playoff berth. Nos. 7-10 in each conference compete in the Play-In for the Nos. 7 and 8 spots in the postseason.

The No. 5 Magic (46-35) can finish anywhere from Nos. 5-8 but beating Milwaukee would let them avoid the Play-In and give the group multiple days of preparation for a first-round playoff series that wouldn’t start until next weekend.

If Philadelphia (46-35) finishes in 7th place, the East’s 8th place squad would travel to the 76ers on Wednesday (ESPN, 7) and the winner would be the 7-seed in the playoffs. The loser of the Nos. 7-8 game would then host on Friday the winner of the Nos. 9-10 matchup for the 8th slot in the playoffs.

If the 76ers don’t finish 7th, the Nos. 7-8 game would be held Tuesday on TNT and the contest for the 8th berth would remain on Friday.

The Magic won’t have to worry about potentially playing twice before the start of a first-round series next weekend if they can beat the No. 2 Bucks (49-32).

“It will be great to play in front of our home fans,” Mosley said. “We control our destiny in this situation, so the way in which we have to play, the focus we have to have, and the attention to detail in how we start games and how we finish games is going to be very important.”

The host Bucks defeated the Magic on Wednesday and did so without two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was ruled out for the remainder of the regular season due to a strained left calf.

While the Bucks won’t have Antetokounmpo, seven-time All-NBA guard Damian Lillard (left adductor soreness) is probable. Lillard, who didn’t play Friday night at Oklahoma City, totaled 29 points and 9 rebounds against the Magic earlier in the week.

For Orlando, center Wendell Carter Jr. (back spasms) is questionable. Carter left Friday’s contest less than fives minutes into the game and did not return after grabbing his lower back following a dunk.

If the Magic do clinch a top-6 spot, games elsewhere in the East will determine whom they’ll face in the East and the seeding of the matchup.

There are six different scenarios for Orlando to end up as the No. 5 seed by beating the Bucks.

There’s only one scenario, however, for the Magic to earn the 5th seed if they lose. Orlando would also need No. 6 Indiana (vs. Hawks), No. 7 Philadelphia (vs. Nets) and No. 8 Miami (vs. Raptors) to all lose to get the 5th seed.

There are two scenarios where the Magic end up as the 6-seed even if they beat the Bucks. If the No. 10 Hawks (36-45) beat the Pacers (46-35) and the 76ers beat the Nets (32-49), the Magic would be the 6-seed regardless of the result between the host Heat (45-36) and Raptors (25-56).

There’s also only one scenario where if the Magic lose, they would be the 6-seed. Orlando would need the Pacers to lose, 76ers to win and the Heat to fall.

If the Magic and Heat both lose and the Pacers beat the Hawks, Orlando would host the Heat in the first game of the Play-In for the No. 7 seed of the playoffs.

Orlando would host the Pacers instead if the Magic, Pacers and 76ers all lose and the Heat defeat the Raptors.

There are also multiple scenarios for the Magic to end up as the 8-seed if they lose toe the Bucks, which would require them to travel for the first game of the Play-In.

Bottom line? Win and in.

“Pretty cool scenario,” Wagner said. “We’re definitely looking forward to it and it should be a fun game on Sunday.”

Jason Beede can be reached at jbeede@orlandosentinel.com

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