Milwaukee Bucks Playoff picture with 10 games left

After decades of just fighting for a final playoff spot, the Milwaukee Bucks once again find themselves at or near the top of the Eastern Conference standings with ten games remaining in the regular season.

Mike Budenholzer took over as the Bucks’ head coach in 2018 and immediately catapulted the Bucks to the top of the East (as well as helping Giannis Antetokounmpo develop into a perennial MVP candidate). Since then, Milwaukee has finished first three times and third twice – one was the year they won the NBA Finals.

At 46-26, they find themselves in second place in the East – the last time they achieved that was the 2000-01 season. They are two games ahead of the New York Knicks (44-28), 2.5 ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers (44-29) and four games ahead of the Orlando Magic (42-30).

Current ranking

  1. Boston Celtics (ended in playoffs): 57-15
  2. Milwaukee Bucks: 46-26, 11 GB
  3. New York Knicks: 44-28, 13GB
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers, 44-29, 13.5GB
  5. Orlando Magic: 42-30
  6. Indiana Pacers: 41-33, 17GB
  7. Miami Heat: 39-33, 18GB
  8. Philadelphia 76ers: 39-34, 18.5 GB
  9. Chicago Bulls: 35-38, 22.5GB
  10. Atlanta Hawks: 33-39
  11. Brooklyn Nets: 28-45, 29.5 GB
  12. All other teams were eliminated

Playoff scenarios

If Milwaukee holds the No. 2 seed, they will play the winner of the first playoff game between the seventh- and eighth-place teams in the East. So far, that game will feature the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers.

This is a tough draw for the Bucks.

Miami beat them in the first round of the playoffs last year. They are a tough team for the Bucks to play considering all the player and ball movement they apply on the perimeter. The Bucks love to use their hands on defense, and the barrage of dribble handoffs and disciplined movement of Miami’s players make that difficult.

The Philadelphia 76ers are a unique case. They had the second-best net rating in the NBA before Joel Embiid got hurt, and have since added Buddy Hield, Kyle Lowry and Cameron Payne to their roster. Embiid is expected to return before the end of the regular season and will present a very challenging first-round matchup.

Milwaukee would probably rather see the Indiana Pacers than the Heat or 76ers in the first round. Despite the Pacers giving Milwaukee trouble this season, they present a better first-round opponent from a matchup standpoint — even though they’re dangerous in their own right.

Remaining program

There are still plenty of moves that can happen in the final ten games of the regular season. Not only could the seeding change for the play-in tournament, but Milwaukee still has work to do to secure their seeding. They also need to focus on continuing to learn to play together.

Here’s the Bucks’ remaining schedule:

  • 3/28: at New Orleans Pelicans (44-28)
  • 3/30: at Atlanta Hawks (33-39)
  • 4/2: at Washington Wizards (14-59)
  • 4/3: vs Memphis Grizzlies (24-49)
  • 4/5: vs. Toronto Raptors (23-50)
  • 4/7: vs. New York Knicks (44-28)
  • 4/9: vs. Boston Celtics (57-15)
  • 4/10: vs Orlando Magic (42-30)
  • 4/12: at Oklahoma City Thunder (50-22)
  • 4/14: at Orlando Magic (42-30)

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