8th Place, 38-40
Can the trade for Gary Payton pay dividends? The Bucks' magic number to clinch a playoff spot is three -- any combination of Milwaukee victories and Washington losses. Even a split over the next four games could get Milwaukee in, as it holds the tiebreaker with the Wizards in the event the teams finish with the same record.
DateOpponentRecordWednesdayL.A. Clippers24-52Fridayat Toronto24-52SundayIndiana46-31April 16Orlando39-38 Washington Wizards
9th Place, 35-41
Will Michael Jordan go out with one more trip to the playoffs? The schedule is favorable for the Wizards to make a run, but even a 5-1 record to finish the season may not get them in the playoffs. Washington will need balanced scoring from Jordan, Jerry Stackhouse and Christian Laettner, as it had against Boston on Sunday, to have a chance.
DateOpponentRecordTonightat Cleveland15-61WednesdayBoston41-36Fridayat Miami23-55SaturdayAtlanta31-45April 14N.Y. Knicks34-43April 16at Philadelphia45-31 New York Knicks
10th Place, 34-43
The Knicks played well enough after the all-star break to stay in the hunt for the final playoff spot, moving within 21/2 games of the last spot on March 24. But to avoid a spot in the NBA draft lottery, New York would need collapses by the Bucks and Wizards, which is unlikely to happen.
DateOpponentRecordTonightAtlanta31-45FridayPhiladelphia45-31Saturdayat Cleveland15-61April 14at Washington35-41April 15Indiana46-31