If the easier road in the Eastern Conference is from seventh place instead of sixth Rod Brind'Amour Jersey , the Milwaukee Bucks aren’t interested in taking it.
They know they aren’t going to get the right playoff mindset by losing.
”If you have that mentality it kind of carries over to the postseason and you become a complacent basketball player,” forward Jabari Parker said.
Eric Bledsoe had 22 points and 10 assists, and the Bucks moved into a tie for sixth place in the East with a 115-102 victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday night.
Khris Middleton also scored 22 points for the Bucks, who joined Miami with a 43-37 record. The Heat were blown out by the Knicks at Madison Square Garden a night earlier but the Bucks avoided the same fate despite playing without All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo because of a sore right ankle.
The No. 6 seed would be looking at facing Philadelphia, which has won 13 straight games, or LeBron James and Cleveland. The team that ends up seventh draws a second-seeded Boston team that has lost All-Star guard Kyrie Irving for the season.
”They got a great a basketball team and a great coach,” Bledsoe said. ”Obviously they’re missing a couple of key players but at the same time they were playing well without those guys in the lineup.”
Parker made his second start of the season in Antetokounmpo’s place and finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds. John Henson had 15 points and 12 boards for the Bucks, who hoped to get point guard Malcolm Brogdon back but will have to wait a little longer as they try to become the dangerous team they think they can be.
”We know how good we can be and we’ve shown it,” coach Joe Prunty said. ”We’ve shown it in games and over stretches of games, but similar to what we were talking about earlier, we have also had lulls or games where we haven’t played as well as we’d like to or need to Thomas Vanek Jersey , and that’s what we’re trying to build on every day.”
Jarrett Jack scored 18 points and Kyle O’Quinn had 15 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and four blocks for the Knicks, who beat Miami 122-98 on Friday but fell short in their hopes of beating another playoff-bound team.
The Knicks were without Tim Hardaway Jr. (sprained left ankle), Enes Kanter (lower back, right wrist) and Emmanuel Mudiay (concussion). Michael Beasley started after leaving Friday’s game with a bruised left knee.
Jack was the starter earlier in the season before falling out of the rotation entirely while the Knicks turned to young guards Trey Burke, Frank Ntilikina and Mudiay.
”The job is 82 games,” Jack said. ”If you’re not in, you cheer for everybody else. But if he calls your number, be ready to come in there and be ready to come in there and contribute as best you can.”
The game was close most of the way until the Bucks, trailing by one http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/khalil-mack-jersey , took control with a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter. Middleton’s basket gave Milwaukee the lead for good, Tony Snell and Parker made 3-pointers, and Bledsoe made four free throws as the Bucks surged to a 106-95 advantage with 2:17 to play.
Snell left a little more than five minutes into the game when he turned an ankle when he stepped on a teammate’s foot while chasing a Knicks player around a screen. He returned in the second quarter and had 10 points.
Bucks: Prunty said Brogdon (left quad) was evaluated Saturday and it was determined he wasn’t ready to go. The Bucks hope last season’s Rookie of the Year can play Monday. … Parker had averaged 20 points in his last three games.
Knicks: Coach Jeff Hornacek said he expected that Kanter and Hardaway would play again this season if healthy, refusing to rule them out for the final two games. ”Those guys are all competitors and that’s what we like about them,” Hornacek said. … Knicks starters had no turnovers in the first half and the team had just two total, both by Luke Kornet.
The Knicks held Latvian heritage night in celebration of Latvia’s 100th anniversary. The New York Latvian Concert Choir sang the national anthem and Latvia President Raimond Vejonis was presented with a personalized jersey by Knicks All-Star Kristaps Porzingis, who is from Latvia.
Bucks: Host Orlando on Monday.
Knicks: Host Cleveland on Monday.
With perhaps the most frustrating road trip of their season in the rearview mirror, the Minnesota Twins return home Thursday looking to get back on track in the opener of a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Target Field.
Minnesota went 1-8 on their I-94 excursion that began by dropping two of three to the Chicago White Sox and ended with sweeps by the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers. As a result, the Twins now sit 13 games under .500 and 12 games behind American League Central-leading Cleveland, holding down third place in the division.
“I think we’re all frustrated,” manager Paul Molitor said after the Brewers hit three solo home runs in a 3-2 victory over the Twins at Miller Park on Wednesday. “You win one game and you’re on the road for 10 days Authentic Mikael Backlund Jersey , playing good teams.
“We’re creating some of our own problems. At the same time, we’re not catching a lot of breaks. We’ll get home, looking forward to that. Have a nice homestand before the break. We’ll try to get these guys ready for a series with Baltimore tomorrow.”
The Twins will turn to Aaron Slegers (0-0, 3.38 ERA) for his first start of the season in the hopes of turning things around.
He has made just one other major league appearance this season, allowing two runs over 5 1/3 innings of relief May 30 at Kansas City. He has a 5.66 ERA in five career outings, including three starts, in the big leagues overall. Slegers has never faced Baltimore.
Like the Twins, the Orioles come into the series looking to snap out of a slump. They have lost nine of their last 10 games, including two in a row to Philadelphia this week.
Manager Buck Showalter still has confidence his team can turn things around.
“There are some really good people in that locker room and I’d really like to see them get a return, but you can’t will it. You can’t just hope it,” said Showalter. “It’s got to be one pitch at a time. You can’t look at the big picture.”
Andrew Cashner (2-8 http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/johnthan-banks-jersey , 4.48) gets the start for Baltimore on Thursday, and he is looking for his first victory since May 21. He has a 3.21 ERA over his last five outings, four of which were quality starts.
Keeping the ball in the park has been a big reason for that recent run of success. Cashner had allowed 11 home runs through his first nine starts but only three over his last seven — and none his last time out when he held the Los Angeles Angels to a run on four hits and a pair of walks while striking out four over six innings of work.
“That’s what I try to do every time I take the mound, just keep the team in the game and grind it out, no matter if it’s pretty or ugly,” Cashner told the Baltimore Sun. “Just try to get through the seventh. Maybe next time I’ll get through the seventh. I thought I got stronger as I went along. The breaking stuff was better, the offspeed was better. Something to build on as we go and keep moving forward.”
Cashner will be making his first career start at Target Field but is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in two previous starts against the Twins, who tagged him for five runs (four earned) over five innings on March 31 in Baltimore.
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