Jim Boylan has a message for his team as it heads into the final 13 games of the regular season:

Forget about playoff positioning for the moment and focus on improving on the court.

And the Milwaukee Bucks coach does want them to have a sense of urgency about clinching a playoff berth. Once that is accomplished, there will be time to see if they can move up the ladder from their current eighth position, which would mean a first-round matchup against the seemingly unbeatable Miami Heat.

"Until mathematically we are in, we are not in," Boylan said. "We've got to get there first.

"That's step one. Once we get there, we'll figure out the rest of it."

The Bucks (34-35) have a magic number of five over Philadelphia and Washington to clinch an Eastern Conference playoff spot. They can trim their number with the 76ers to three by winning the head-to-head matchup on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Washington has been on fire lately, and point guard John Wall scored a career-high 47 points in the Wizards' home victory over Memphis on Monday.

But the Wizards still trail the Bucks by 8 ½ games entering Wednesday's play.

Milwaukee already has won the first three games of the season series against the 76ers and holds the tiebreaker with Philadelphia.

The Bucks set a goal during fall training camp to return to the playoffs after a two-year absence.

Despite turmoil in early January when coach Scott Skiles and management parted ways, the team has been around the .500 mark all season.

But every time it appears the Bucks are ready to produce some consistent play, they fall back. They won at Golden State and Sacramento earlier this month but followed with back-to-back losses to Dallas (at home) and Washington (on the road).