The Portland Trail Blazers and the Milwaukee Bucks are both trying to secure a spot in the top eight of their respective conferences, and both are facing some stiff competition. The Trail Blazers will go for their fourth straight win and try to close the gap on the eighth-place Denver Nuggets in the West when they host the Bucks on Tuesday.

Point guard Damian Lillard is trying to will Portland into the playoffs and delivered a season-high 49 points on 14-of-21 shooting in a 115-104 win at Miami on Sunday, including 9-of-12 from 3-point range. "I think it's just important to come out aggressive just to establish that mindset of look, we're coming," Lillard told reporters. "A lot of times I'm handling the ball, a lot of times I'm calling the plays, so I've got a lot of control. I think, as a leader, it's important to be the guy to spark that up, I guess put that urgency in our minds that this is the way it is gonna be. We're coming after it on both ends of the floor." While the Trail Blazers sit just outside the top eight in the West, Milwaukee is clinging to the No. 7 spot in the East, just a half-game ahead of Detroit and Miami tied for the No. 8 spot. The Bucks dropped to 2-2 on their six-game road trip when they struggled to hang with the NBA-best Golden State Warriors in a 117-92 loss on Saturday.

TV: 10 p.m. ET, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee), CSN Northwest (Portland)

ABOUT THE BUCKS (34-35): Milwaukee was playing the second night of a back-to-back at Golden State after an emotional game against the Los Angeles Lakers the previous night and acknowledged some fatigue after the game but still felt it should have put in a better effort. "We had some slip-ups and some miscommunication, and they kind of hit us in the mouth," Bucks point guard Matthew Dellavedova told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We lost our way for a stretch there, and good teams like that will punish you. We're not aiming for .500 (on the trip). We want to keep getting better." All-Star small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo had the toughest time against the Warriors and will look to bounce back on Tuesday after struggling to nine points on 4-of-14 shooting in the loss.

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (32-37): Lillard is on a tear of late and is averaging 36 points on 53.8 percent shooting, including 54.8 percent from beyond the arc, while guiding Portland to a 4-1 mark over the last five games. "I've been doing the same thing that I always do - pregame routine hasn't changed," Lillard told reporters. "I think it's just the mentality, the level of focus going into the game, taking nothing for granted. Every shot I'm shooting is a strong shot. I'm coming off and I'm making the right reads. I think when you make the right decisions and you play the game the right way, it works out in your favor." Portland begins a stretch with six of seven games at home on Tuesday and will play 10 of the final 13 in front of the home fans, where it owns a 17-14 record.


1. Bucks C Greg Monroe was fined $35,000 for his role in a skirmish with the Lakers on Friday.

2. Trail Blazers C Jusuf Nurkic is averaging 15 points and 10.3 rebounds in March after recording a double-double on Sunday.

3. Lillard scored 30 points but Milwaukee knocked off visiting Portland 115-107 on Dec. 7 as Antetokounmpo recorded a triple-double.

PREDICTION: Bucks 119, Trail Blazers 115