Things seemed gloomy for the Milwaukee Bucks when they started the season 22-30. It seemed almost cruel when the team lost Jabari Parker to his second torn-ACL. But Saturday night, Jason Kidd’s squad went home with a smile, as they defeated the Philadelphia 76ers and clinched a playoff berth.
“A lot of character with those guys in that locker room. No one quit, everybody kept fighting and the big word is trust,” Coach Kidd said. “Everybody trusted one another and we worked through the process. Things didn’t look good but again those guys in that locker room believe that they can turn it around and they did.”
With the win, the Bucks record is 41-39, good for sixth in the Eastern Conference.
With two games remaining, the Bucks have a chance to get the fifth seed, but also can drop in the standings if they don’t play their cards right.
“You have the opportunity to maybe get up to the fifth spot, but again you have teams behind you that are chasing you,” Kidd said. “We know we’re in, but now we’ve just got to figure out these last two games.”
Milwaukee had a two-point lead against the 76ers, but after a lackluster performance in the second quarter, trailed by six at the half.
Then in the second half, the team bounced back with a strong performance on both sides of the ball and took care of business.
“Our energy and effort was a lot better in that second half,” coach J-Kidd said. I thought our defense kept us in the game the whole game. Our shots weren’t falling but when you can rely on your defense to keep you in the game, you’re going to make some shots at some point.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 20 points and also added 10 rebounds and six assists, but Kidd mentioned Greg Monroe as a key contributor in the win off the bench.
“Yeah I thought in the second half he was great,” Jason said. “Finishing plays, making plays on the offensive and defensive end and he’s been a big part of our success and he helped us win tonight.”
For now, the Bucks can breathe easy knowing they have playoff basketball ahead, but that sigh of relief can’t last forever.
“I think for one the guys can relax a little bit. But we still have some work to do, we have teams chasing us and we’re chasing Atlanta,” Kidd said. “To accomplish half our goal was to get to the playoffs and get in, but now we have to find a position. We have two games left and we want to end on a positive note.”
Making the playoffs is step one for the Bucks, now they will look to win a playoff series, something they have not done since the 2000-01 season.
“Many goals, and that will be one on the board hopefully that we can win a series, but first we want to end the season on a positive note,” Kidd said.
The Bucks host the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night for the team’s final regular season home game.