(SportsNetwork.com) - The Milwaukee Bucks can punch their ticket to the postseason Friday, with some help, when they travel to Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks.
The Bucks are pretty much locked into the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee is two games in front of the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, but seven behind the Washington Wizards. The Bucks can't catch the Wiz.
A win on Friday by Milwaukee, coupled with an Indiana Pacers loss to the Detroit Pistons, would clinch a playoff spot for the Bucks, who had the worst record in the NBA last season.
The Bucks have dropped two straight, both at home, and that followed a two- game winning streak. Milwaukee fell to the Orlando Magic, then lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers, 104-99, on Wednesday.
Michael Carter-Williams led the way for the Bucks with 30 points, followed by 19 and 10 rebounds from Zaza Pachulia. Khris Middleton added 16 and O.J. Mayo chipped in 11 off the bench.
Giannis Antetokounmpo didn't play on Wednesday due to a coach's decision and coach Jason Kidd wasn't clear on the reasoning behind it.
"Coach's decision," Kidd said six times in his postgame press conference. "It was a coach's decision. I don't know what, you guys can't hear?"
Antetokounmpo started 64 consecutive games and appeared in 145 straight before the bizarre benching. He's expected to be in the lineup Friday.
The Knicks returned to their losing ways on Wednesday with a 102-86 home setback to the Indiana Pacers. New York beat the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, but couldn't keep the momentum going.
Langston Galloway led the Knicks with 19 points and Andrea Bargnani had 15 versus the Pacers.
"This is our playoffs," said Galloway. "We don't have a shot at the playoffs, so we come out and give it our all because there is no tomorrow for us."
Tim Hardaway, Jr., Quincy Acy and Jason Smith scored 12 apiece in the loss.
The Knicks were limited to 5-of-20 shooting from the floor in the opening stanza and trailed 26-14 after 12 minutes of play. Indiana connected on 60 percent of its field goal tries in the second quarter, assisting on seven of its 12 makes en route to a 54-38 halftime lead.
After Galloway opened up the second half with a jumper on New York's opening possession, the Pacers responded with a 10-0 run.
The Knicks narrowed the deficit with a 13-3 run to begin the final frame, but Indiana scored seven of its 17 fourth-quarter points from the free throw line.
The Bucks will try for their first season sweep of the Knicks since the 2009-10 season.