Milwaukee enters their game against Toronto with a 16-24 record, yet they are only one and a half games back of the New York Knicks for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Even though the team hasn’t had the kind of success they envisioned due to injuries and chemistry issues, Scott Skiles is happy his team is within fighting distance of a playoff spot.
“We want to focus on the teams in front of us and right now that happens to be New York,” Skiles told the media during his pre-game media scrum. “We want to try to catch them and get in. But there’s also a couple of talented teams behind us. Cleveland and Detroit are both playing much better and we’re only a game and a half ahead of them.
“But again, we want to focus on the teams ahead of us and tonight we caught a break when Philly beat them so we have a chance to get back to within a game. We need to take advantage of it.”
Milwaukee is coming off a tough stretch of games where they are coming back to the east coast after WHAT games out west. Throw into the mix that six of their next seven game are against teams that are sub .500, and it’s clear it’s a big part in their season.
Sure, there are some injury issues, but those won’t be used an excuse if the team falters.
“Yeah, but it’s also a great opportunity,” Skiles explained when asked about. “We’re coming off a pretty good week where we went 2-1 and we could have been 3-0 if (Derrick) Rose doesn’t hit that huge shot. Now we start another one where we have back-to-back road games and then we’re home against Cleveland. At the end of that stretch our season is going to be down to the teens. We’ll only have a handful of games to go. So I know it’s a cliche, but we need every win we can get.”
So with a game on the road against Toronto, Milwaukee can’t afford to let up, even if Jose Calderon is out and the Raptors are 13-27 on the season.
“We need these wins,” Skiles said. “Games like today are the games where you find out the will of your team, how much fight they have and things like that. Can we come in here and beat them again? This is a big game for us. Lets see how the guys react.”