The Indiana Pacers just locked up a playoff berth. The Milwaukee Bucks are hoping to do the same thing soon.
The two Central Division rivals will square off tonight at the Bradley Center, where the Bucks hope to move closer to the postseason. Milwaukee has won seven of its last 10 games and sits just two games behind New York and Philadelphia for the final two playoff spots in the East with seven games to go.
Milwaukee ended a two-game slide with a 113-97 triumph at Detroit last night, as Drew Gooden scored 26 points and Brandon Jennings had 20 with 10 assists.
"Coach said if I have a good game or play that way, we're a tough team to beat," said Gooden.
Monta Ellis and Carlos Delfino netted 18 and 16 points, respectively, for the Bucks, who will try to improve on their 15-14 home record tonight. Milwaukee will play four of its next six games in Brew City.
Indiana completed a home-and-home sweep of Cleveland with Friday's 102-83 triumph thanks to Danny Granger's 18 points and 16 from Tyler Hansbrough. George Hill had 15 points, Leandro Barbosa added 13 and Roy Hibbert collected 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who have won three straight and seven of eight games.
"We haven't accomplished anything yet," Indiana head coach Frank Vogel said of his team clinching a playoff bid. "Nothing has changed for us. We felt for a while we would be in the playoffs, but until we get home court advantage, there is work to be done."
The Pacers are seeded third in the East -- three games ahead of Boston -- and will put their three-game road winning streak on the line tonight. They are 17-14 away from Indy this season and hope to capture homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
After Saturday's game in Milwaukee, Indiana will close out the regular season with five of six games as the host. The Pacers topped the Bucks, 125-104, back on March 24 this season, but have lost six of the last nine meetings.
Indiana has won two in a row at the Bucks following a five-game slide as the visitor in this series.