Nets meet Bucks with playoff positioning at stake

( - The Milwaukee Bucks will try to punch their ticket to the postseason Sunday afternoon when they host the Brooklyn Nets at the Bradley Center.

A win on Sunday would get the Bucks into the playoffs just one season removed from having the worst record in the NBA. They are two games clear of the Nets and Boston Celtics with three to play, so the sixth seed appears to be their landing spot. Boston hosts the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday afternoon and a loss by the C's would also give Milwaukee a date in the playoffs.

The Nets are in a fight for the postseason. They, along with the Celtics, are a game ahead of the Indiana Pacers and 2 1/2 clear of the four-time reigning Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat.

Milwaukee shrunk their magic number to one with a 99-91 road victory over the New York Knicks on Friday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo returned to the lineup with a vengeance, pumping in 23 points with nine rebounds in Milwaukee's win. Held out of Wednesday's loss to Cleveland on a decision by Bucks head coach Jason Kidd, Antetokounmpo hit on 7-of-14 shots to help guide Milwaukee to the win.

"I thought he responded in a positive way," Kidd said of Antetokounmpo. "I thought he played a great game."

Khris Middleton finished with 22 points, followed by 19 from Michael Carter- Williams.

The Bucks visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, then close the season at home against the Celtics.

The Nets looked fantastic on Friday night in a 117-80 thrashing of the Washington Wizards at the Barclays Center.

Brook Lopez posted 26 points and nine rebounds to continue his sensational form which has netted consecutive Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors.

"We came out aggressive early, moved the ball well and played great 'D'," Lopez said.

Bojan Bogdanovic equaled a career-high with 22 points for the Nets.

The Nets led by 16 at the half. Marcin Gortat and Bradley Beal combined for all 24 of Washington's points in the third quarter, but the Wizards were only able to get within 75-62 entering the fourth.

The bottom fell out for Washington in the fourth, as the Nets opened the period on a 20-1 spurt. Bogdanovic, who went 6-of-6 from beyond the arc, capped it with a 3-pointer.

Winners in eight of their last 10 games, the Nets finish the season at home against the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic.

The Bucks won the first two matchups this season as Kidd got some revenge on the team he coached last season. The Nets have won three of their last four stops in Brew City.