The Milwaukee Bucks are coming off a solid victory over the Portland Trail Blazers to add to their two-game win streak. Milwaukee must now overcome a critical stretch in the schedule if they want to move up the Eastern Conference standings.
The Bucks will have six games in 11 days, and how they fare could ultimately determine if they move out of the eighth seed in the East. Five of their six contests will come against playoff contenders.
Milwaukee will take on the Atlanta Hawks twice, along with the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder. Obviously, all six games are significant, but the three against the Hawks and Pacers are very important. This is a prime opportunity to make a run at two teams that are sitting better than the Bucks are in the standings.
With a 34-32 record, Milwaukee is two games back in the loss column from the fifth seed, which is where Atlanta currently sits. Two victories against the Hawks over the next five days will not guarantee a rise in the standings. However, it will certainly help considering the Bucks do not play the Chicago Bulls (sixth seed) or Boston Celtics (seventh seed) again during the regular season.
Milwaukee will have to rely on superior outside shooting from all of their 3-point shooters if they want to defeat these top teams. They will also need shooting guard Monta Ellis to continue playing at an incredibly high level. However, considering these playoff contenders know how to ball, other players on the Bucks are going to have to step up because Ellis is going to be constantly under pressure.
If Milwaukee can come out ahead in these next six games, then they will have all the momentum they need to get out of the eighth seed.