Bucks to face Chicago in first round of NBA playoffs

Milwaukee will start its push for a second straight NBA title against the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs.

Thanks to the Bucks loss Sunday, along with wins by Boston and Philadelphia, the three teams ended the season in a three-way tie (51-31) near the top of the Eastern Conference. The Celtics won the tiebreaker and will be the No. 2 seed, while Milwaukee will be the No. 3 and the 76ers will be the No. 4 seed.

It means the Bucks will see their Central Division rivals in a best-of-seven series that will get going as early as Saturday. Milwaukee swept Chicago in the regular season and has beaten the Bulls 16 times in their last 17 meetings. That included a 127-106 win last Tuesday. Chicago is the No. 6 seed and in the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

This will be the fifth all-time matchup between the two franchises in the playoffs. They’ve split the first four, with the most recent meeting coming in the 2015 playoffs. That series went to the Bulls in six games.

As the No. 2 seed, Boston will face the winner of Brooklyn and Cleveland in the first play-in game. The loser of that game will play the winner of the Atlanta and Charlotte play-in game with the No. 8 seed and a first-round series against top-seeded Miami on the line.

Eastern Conference matchups:
(1) Miami vs (8) Brooklyn/Cleveland/Atlanta/Charlotte
(2) Boston vs (7) Brooklyn/Cleveland
(3) Milwaukee vs (6) Chicago
(4) Philadelphia vs (5) Toronto