The Milwaukee Bucks are not playing like a playoff team recently, but things should get a tad easier on Monday night when they host the Charlotte Bobcats, who own the worst record in the NBA.
The Bucks have dropped five of their last six and their lead over the Philadelphia 76ers for that eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference is down to 5 1/2 games.
That's still a sizable lead and Milwaukee should be able to hang on, but things could get interesting. The Bucks have six of their last 10 on the road and against squads like the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks.
On Saturday, those same Thunder came to Milwaukee and dusted the Bucks, 109-99. Actually, the game was tied through three quarters, but OKC handled things in the fourth, winning that frame, 26-16.
"I thought we competed, from that perspective, I was very happy with our physical effort," said interim head coach Jim Boylan. "We didn't make enough shots."
The Bobcats have lost 10 in a row on the road and two straight overall. The second consecutive setback came on Saturday night at Philadelphia when they lost, 100-92.
Charlotte played eight players and the three bench players all logged 17 minutes or less. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led the way for the Bobcats with 21 points and nine rebounds.
Gerald Henderson netted 19, Kemba Walker chipped in 16 and Josh McRoberts had 15. Jannero Pargo added 11 off the bench.
The game was close heading into the final frame with the Sixers up two. Philadelphia's All-Star, Jrue Holiday, took over in the fourth and scored 11 of his 14.
"Holiday made a couple of big plays, and obviously Kemba was good at the end, but we just couldn't stop them from scoring," Henderson said.
The Bobcats own the NBA's worst record, but are just 1 1/2 games behind the Orlando Magic for that distinction. They have nine games left on the schedule to try and avoid the low mark, although, that does come with the most ping- pong balls in the NBA Draft Lottery.
The two teams have split the two matchups this season with each winning at home. The Bobcats have lost nine straight and 14 of the 15 meetings in Milwaukee.