Bucks lose regular-season finale at Boston

A depleted Milwaukee (42-40) team finished the regular season with a 112-94 loss at Boston (53-29) on Wednesday night.

Coach Jason Kidd opted to keep four players back home to rest for the playoffs, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, leaving a skeleton crew to take on a Celtics squad that was fighting for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. And for three quarters, the Bucks made them sweat, trailing by just four with less than six minutes to play before Boston pulled away down the stretch.

Michael Beasley and Spencer Hawes paced Milwaukee with 15 points apiece, while Rashad Vaughn added 14 points.

The game meant little for the Bucks, who were already locked into the No. 6 seed in the playoffs, but Kidd believes they accomplished what they set out to do.

“We got a lot done today. One, our health. We came out healthy. Two, guys were pros (and) they played (hard),” Kidd said. “For three quarters it was a ball game. Fatigue might have set in a little bit. But I thought guys really gave their best.

“We got some minutes with (John) Henson and Malcom (Brogdon). Now we have to turn the page and get ready for Toronto.”

Milwaukee will open the playoffs on the road at third-seeded Toronto on Saturday afternoon. The Raptors won the season series 3-1.

Full schedule:

Game 1 – Sat. April 15 Milwaukee at Toronto, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 – Tue. April 18 Milwaukee at Toronto, 7 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 – Thu. April 20 Toronto at Milwaukee, 8 p.m., NBA TV
Game 4 – Sat. April 22 Toronto at Milwaukee, 3 p.m., TNT
Game 5 * Mon. April 24 Milwaukee at Toronto, 7 p.m., NBA TV
Game 6 * Thu. April 27 Toronto at Milwaukee, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. April 29 Milwaukee at Toronto, TBD, TNT

Bucks clinch at least a six seed in playoffs with win over Hornets

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks can do no worse than a No. 6 seed in the postseason after taking down the Charlotte Hornets 89-79 Monday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists marked his eighth triple double of the season, in which the Bucks are 7-1. Tony Snell and Greg Monroe led Milwaukee in scoring with 16 points apiece, while holding Charlotte’s Frank Kaminsky III to three points on 1-of-12 shooting from the field.

The Bucks not only crashed the boards with a 45-39 advantage over the Hornets, but they shot 57 percent (16-of-28) from three-point range. They could improve in the turnover department, however, allowing Charlotte 16 opportunities to stay in the game.

Playoff Seeding Scenarios
MIL is a No. 6 seed with a win or a loss at BOS
MIL is a No. 5 seed with a win at BOS, plus two losses by ATL

If the Playoffs Started Today…
Bucks (6) vs Raptors (3): TOR leads season series 3-1
Last game: Mar. 4 | MIL 101, TOR 94

Milwaukee’s win over Charlotte gave the Bucks a 42-39 record, securing a winning season for just the sixth time in the last 26 years.

The Neighborhood: Feigin reveals timeline for All Star Game, Bucks D-League name

MADISON, Wis. — Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin joined “The Neighborhood” on Sunday morning to reveal timelines for hosting a future All Star Game and a team name for the new Development League affiliate in Oshkosh.

Feigin discussed the process the Bucks used to submit proposals to host a future All Star Game, which will be either in the 2020-2021 season or the 2021-2022 season. That process, he explained, involved a shared interest with the NBA to bring an All Star Game to Milwaukee.

“It’s a matter of when,” Feigin began. “…Part of our campaign and what we’ve said to the NBA is ‘We’re all in this together. This is a huge message for a small-market team to have [the All Star Game] on an international stage.'”

“My expectation is if we didn’t get it for 2021, some team that was maybe a little more deserving might get it, but there’s no way we’re not going to get it in the near future, which is important to us.”

Feigin also announced a timeline for naming the D-League team being established in Oshkosh, which broke ground on arena construction early last week.

While a team name is set to be announced in the “next couple weeks,” the Bucks have made it a priority that they’d like the name to be taken seriously, thus, names like the “Deer Ticks” and “B’Goshs” are not being considered. Feigin said at least one of the names up for discussion was submitted by a fan, but he didn’t provide any other hints.

Antetokounmpo’s 25 points not enough as the Bucks fall at Indiana 104-89

The hottest team in March has yet to win a game in the month of April.

For a third straight outing, the Milwaukee Bucks were on the losing end, this one a 104-89 setback against the Indiana Pacers to drop coach Jason Kidd’s team into the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race with three games to play.

“It’s hard to win in this league in March and April,” Kidd said afterwards. “Everyone’s trying to win. The teams that aren’t in the playoffs are trying to win, too, and trying to get better. You can’t take anybody lightly. You can’t exhale. For us, we’ve got to get back to being the aggressors.”

Playing without rookie Malcom Brogdon (back soreness) for a fourth straight game, the Bucks turned the ball over 21 times – the second-most they’ve had in a game all year – allowing the Pacers to turn defense into offense and keeping Milwaukee out of any kind of rhythm.

“We had way too many turnovers. We talked about it before the game,” Kidd said. “You turn the ball over against them it puts you in a bad situation defensively, because they’re going to take advantage of it, and they did.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo had a game-high 25 points, while Mirza Teletovic had 15 points (5 of 8 on 3-pointers) off the bench for the Bucks.

Had Milwaukee won, it would have clinched a playoff berth for just the third time since 2010. As it stands, the Bucks are now a ½ game back of Atlanta for the No. 5 seed, and a game up on the Bulls and Pacers.

“We can’t worry about (Indiana) or Chicago. We’ve done our job in the sense of the (season) series and tiebreakers (with them) if that comes into play,” Kidd said. “But we are still in control of our own destiny. We just have to find a way to win.”

Milwaukee will finish out the year at Philadelphia on Saturday, a home game against Charlotte on Monday and then a trip to Boston next Wednesday.

Westbrook’s career night lifts Thunder over Bucks

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Milwaukee Bucks dropped their second straight game Tuesday night in a 110-79 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder that saw Russell Westbrook tie an NBA record for triple doubles.

Westbrook scored 12 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and assisted on 13 shots to tie former Bucks great Oscar Robertson for an NBA-record 41 triple doubles on the season. Five other players on the Thunder roster finished with double-digit points.

”It’s one of those nights, a special night, and something I definitely will never forget,” Westbrook said. ”I’m just truly honored to do it here, especially in Oklahoma City.”

It was not a good showing for the Bucks, who were coming off a record-setting month of March where they won 14 games. Milwaukee shot just 36 percent overall Tuesday night, converting on 3-of-18 (16.7 percent) of three-point attempts. The Bucks were also out-rebounded 53-38.

Milwaukee has just four games left in the regular season and remains in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings with a two-game lead over eighth place Indiana. That’s where the Bucks travel to next, meeting the Pacers Tuesday night at 6 p.m.

Jason Kidd named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month

MILWAUKEE | Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd has been named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for March. Under Kidd’s guidance, the Bucks won an NBA-best 14 games in March and had the Eastern Conference’s top winning percentage after going 14-4 (.778) during the month.

Milwaukee’s 14 wins in March were the most the team has had in a month since February of 1971 when Milwaukee went 16-2, and rank as the third-most wins in a month in franchise history. The Bucks began the month 26-30, in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings, and finished March a season-high four games over .500 at 40-36 and in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. March was highlighted by a season-high six-game winning streak from March 3 through March 11 (the team’s longest win streak since the 2011-12 season) and a 4-2 West Coast road trip, which marked the Bucks’ most wins on a single road trip since the 1988-89 season.

Kidd is the sixth head coach in franchise history to win the Coach of the Month award, and the first since Scott Skiles in February of 2010.

Fourth quarter push lifts Mavs over Bucks

MILWAUKEE — A 34-point fourth quarter for the Dallas Mavericks gave them a 109-105 win over the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday afternoon.

Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, Dallas erased a seven-point third-quarter deficit led by the 31 points of Harrison Barnes. He shot over 69 percent from the field and made all 10 of his free throw attempts. Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea each added 17 to contribute in the win. Giannis Antetokounmpo was Milwaukee’s high-point man with 31, adding 15 rebounds and nine assists.

”I think it wasn’t who we are today,” Antetokounmpo said. ”We didn’t play hard enough. We didn’t do what we usually do. That’s the game, and we move on.”

Gary Payton II signed a two-year partially-guaranteed contract with the Bucks over the weekend and scored five points in eight minutes of play in his debut.

“I can’t stop smiling,” Payton told reporters after the game. “It’s just beyond a blessing to get an opportunity to play here. I felt good tonight and got that first one under my belt. I’m ready to continue to learn.”

Bucks sign Gary Payton II to two-year contract

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks signed Gary Payton II to a two-year contract, multiple reports indicated on Sunday.

The deal includes a contract for the 2017-18 season that’s only partially guaranteed, which theoretically gives Payton the chance to not only make an NBA roster, but to make the maximum money his talents allow. That’s not an entirely surprising decision, given Milwaukee’s previous interest in Payton in last summer’s NBA Draft.

Payton fell, rather unceremoniously, out of the draftable rounds and ended up on the Houston Rockets D-League affiliate this season where he’s averaged 14.2 points per game on 49.5 percent shooting. Payton went undrafted after two seasons at Oregon State.

The move comes less than 48 hours after the Bucks requested waivers on Terrence Jones, who appeared in just four games for the Bucks since being claimed in early March.

Milwaukee takes out Detroit 108-105 in overtime

The Milwaukee Bucks closed out the month of March in style, overcoming a fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Detroit Pistons 108-105 in overtime on Friday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and handed out nine assists, while Khris Middleton added 25 points. But it was the play of rookie Thon Maker that had everyone talking following a career-high 23 points from the first-round pick.

“Unbelievable,” Antetokounmpo said of the 7-foot-1 Maker. “The way he plays. The way he practices. The way he learns. The way he gets better every day. It’s unbelievable.”

Milwaukee led by as many as 17 points in the first quarter only to see the Pistons claw away and eventually retake the lead in the third quarter. Detroit built on that advantage and led by 10 with 4:58 remaining in the game. That’s when Antetokounmpo took charge, scoring 10 of Milwaukee’s next 12 points to help the game get to overtime tied at 95.

In the extra period, it was a pair of big 3-pointers that got Milwaukee across the line for the win. First, Maker drilled one with 1:58 left to take a three-point lead. Maker had some motivation to take – and make – the shot courtesy of Antetokounmpo.

“If you hesitate, I’m going to punch you,” Antetokounmpo told Fox Sports Wisconsin of his message for Maker. “So shoot the ball whenever you get it.”

The shot was big, but his offensive rebound less than a minute later proved to be the dagger the Bucks needed, as his tip out off a missed shot ended up in the hands of Middleton, who drilled the 3-pointer.

It was win No. 14 in the month of March, the most in a single month for the franchise since 1971, and it gave them the No. 5 playoff spot to themselves with just seven games remaining.

Milwaukee will take on Oklahoma City on Sunday afternoon at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Clutch Brogdon gives Bucks 103-100 win over Celtics

BOSTON — The Milwaukee Bucks held off a Boston Celtics rally for a 103-100 win thanks to six key points down the stretch from rookie Malcolm Brogdon.

Brogdon finished the game with 16 points and nine rebounds, but none bigger than the contested shot he converted with just seconds remaining to seal the win for Milwaukee.

”Tonight the ball was in my hands at the end of the game,” Brogdon said. ”It takes a lot of character and will to win more than anything to have it in a rookie’s hands at the end of the game.”

Brogdon’s confidence is one of the reasons his play has put him in the conversation for Rookie of the Year. The 26-year-old Virginia product is averaging 10.3 points per game and shooting nearly 46 percent on the season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo added 22 points and nine rebounds, while Khris Middleton poured in 19 points. The win keeps Milwaukee in a tie with Atlanta for the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference standings with seven games to go. The Bucks have a two-game cushion in the playoff hunt and have won five of their last six, including the last four on the road.

Milwaukee returns home for a pair of games this weekend against the Pistons and Mavericks.