NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 6th (All times eastern)
Milwaukee Bucks (42-34) at Chicago Bulls (37-39), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Milwaukee Bucks hope to clinch their first playoff berth since 2006 when they visit the Windy City tonight to take on a Chicago Bulls team scratching and clawing for the final postseason spot in the East.
The Bulls are one game behind eighth place Toronto with just six games to play. Milwaukee is currently the sixth seed in the East, five games clear of Chicago.
The Bucks' playoff push has largely been fueled by a deal made with the Bulls at the trade deadline. Milwaukee is a gaudy 18-6 since acquiring John Salmons from Chicago and the veteran swingman has been brilliant since taking up residence in Brew City, averaging 20.0 points in his 24 games with the Bucks.
Things aren't all rosy in Milwaukee, however. Center Andrew Bogut, perhaps the team's best player, suffered a broken hand, dislocated elbow and sprained wrist during a fall from the rim in a 107-98 win over Phoenix on Saturday night.
The former No. 1 overall pick underwent surgery Monday and is expected to be out up to six weeks, meaning he'll likely miss the rest of the season, including the playoffs.
The Bucks inched closer to that postseason spot on Saturday when rookie star Brandon Jennings posted 23 points as Milwaukee snapped the Suns' 10-game win streak with a 107-98 victory at Bradley Center.
Carlos Delfino poured in 16 points and nine rebounds while Salmons scored 14 points for the Bucks, who stemmed a two-game slide and also erased a seven- game skid to the Suns despite losing Bogut in the second quarter.
Bogut had 12 points and four boards before departing for Milwaukee, which remained in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind Miami, after the Heat topped Minnesota earlier Saturday.
"We had a lot of energy. Considering what we have been through; 11 games in 18 days and two really tough road losses and Phoenix winning 10 in a row," Bucks head coach Scott Skiles said. "I was really proud of the guys tonight. You could tell fatigue was setting in near the end of the game."
The Bulls, meanwhile, are fighting for their playoff lives and they have been playing like it, winning for the fourth time in five games on Saturday to stay on Toronto's heels.
Derrick Rose recorded a game-high 26 points in that one, as Chicago earned a 96-88 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats at the United Center.
Kirk Hinrich added 24 points and six rebounds for the Bulls. Taj Gibson donated 14 points and 15 rebounds, while Luol Deng chipped in 12 points in a winning effort.
"We understand the situation and have to keep fighting and keep fighting," center Joakim Noah told NBA.com. "I think everybody here really wants to make the playoffs."
Milwaukee has lost eight straight in Chicago, last winning there on Jan. 2, 2006. If the Bulls lose tonight, Miami will clinch a playoff spot.
04/06 10:41:17 ET