Back-to-Back on Track

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks needed a boost to ignite a playoff surge.

Back-to-back wins this week will certainly help.

The Bucks posted a pair of huge wins on a Tuesday-Wednesday back-to-back, defeating the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers by a sum-total of 39 points.

After coming off the bench on Sunday, Luc Richard was back in the starting lineup for both games, his first starts since a stomach virus knocked him out of action for a week.

The 95-76 victory over the Wizards on Tuesday snapped a two-game losing streak. Luc recorded five rebounds in the win and added two steals, a block and an assist.

One night later, the Bucks were back in Milwaukee, but didn’t miss a beat, hammering the Cavs for a 110-90 victory. No. 12 scored six points and pulled down four boards in the win, which gave Milwaukee its first string of victories since a three-game win streak in late January.

« Two blowout wins in a row; I don’t think I remember the last time we’ve done that, » Luc’s teammate Andrew Bogut told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. « We can’t get ahead of ourselves. It’s still Washington and Cleveland. But in the same sense we’ve played three good basketball games if you include Boston (an 89-83 loss on Sunday). »

The Bucks also appear to be getting back on track at the right time. While most of the Eastern Conference playoff spots are relatively secure, the eighth-seed is wide-open. Five teams remain within striking distance with less than 20 games to play.

Milwaukee currently sits in the 10th position, but is just 1.5 games out of the eighth seed, which currently belongs to Indiana. Charlotte also stands in the Bucks’ way, but by just half a game.

Though they’re close to a spot, it won’t be easy for Luc and Co. to reach the postseason. Of their final 19 games, 11 are against teams currently over. 500 and they play 12 of those last 19 against teams currently above them in the East.

The Bucks begin a tough stretch against four straight East playoff teams on Saturday in Milwaukee.

The first of those four is the Philadelphia 76ers, who come to town red-hot as winners of seven of their last nine games.

« The big test for us is Philly, » Bogut said. « We never play well against Philly, and they’re having a great year. I think Philly is our test. »

After hosting the Sixers, Milwaukee has a quick turn around as they head to Boston for their second straight Sunday with the Celtics.

The home game with Philly on Saturday tips at 7 p.m., while Sunday’s showdown in Beantown is set for 5 p.m. CST. Both games can be seen on FSN Wisconsin and the Celtics game is also available on NBA TV.