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Timberwolves beat up Bucks 107-98

MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Bucks lost ground in the NBA playoff race, when they fell at home to Minnesota 107-98 last night. The Bucks did however reduce their magic number to two for clinching a playoff spot, after Philadelphia lost.

But Milwaukee dropped to two-and-a-half games behind Boston for the Number-seven slot in the East - making it more likely that the Bucks will face red-hot Miami in the first round. The Bucks hardly looked like a playoff team against the struggling Timberwolves, who've now won two straight for the first time since mid-December.

Milwaukee committed 20 turnovers, and the Wolves dominated the paint with a 58-38 scoring edge. Minnesota jumped out by 10 points early in the fourth quarter. The Bucks got to within four midway through the final period, but could get no closer.

Ricky Rubio had five three-pointers - and he almost had a triple-double for the Wolves with 19 points, 12 assists, and eight steals. Nikola Pekovic led Minnesota with 27. Ersan Ilyasova led Milwaukee with 29 points and 12 rebounds. The Bucks dropped to two games below .500. They're at New York tomorrow night.