In Monday's PER Diem, ESPN.com's John Hollinger assesses the Eastern Conference playoff race and suggests that teams like Boston and Milwaukee have to gain some steam to make any noise in the postseason.
Further down, we have defensive-minded veteran teams in Boston and Milwaukee that are trying to figure out whether they're kicking or sticking. The Bucks are out of the money right now but hope Andrew Bogut's return in March can fuel a run to the playoffs; certainly the Celtics' struggles are also fueling that enthusiasm, because it's kept the 13-20 Bucks just 2½ games out of the playoffs. Either team could be something of a threat if they get their older players healthy, especially if the trade deadline brings in some new blood -- and both teams are expected to be active on that front. But it won't matter much if they limp into a No. 8 seed and a first-round beatdown against Miami or Chicago.
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