Ersan Ilyasova is on a tear over the last six games.

The Milwaukee Bucks power forward has averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds since returning from back and hip injuries suffered in a March 17 game against Orlando.

He had to sit out three games to recuperate but returned against Atlanta one week later and immediately contributed 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Ilyasova has posted double-doubles in four of the six games. And twice in the last three games Ilyasova has hit the 29-point mark, not far off his career high of 32 points established last season.

The 25-year-old is emerging as a leader on a Bucks team that faces plenty of off-season uncertainty due to contract situations affecting several key players, including guards Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick.

"The season is long and you never like to see a guy go out," Bucks coach Jim Boylan said of the injury that briefly sidelined Ilyasova. "But I think maybe Ers had a chance to catch his breath during the couple games he sat for us.

"He came back with a little more bounce to his step and certainly didn't miss a beat when he came back. To have him back is invaluable for us. I'm just glad he's in a good rhythm right now as we head down the stretch.

"Hopefully, he can stay in that groove and when he does, it really opens things up for us."

Ilyasova is providing a positive tone as the struggling Bucks (36-38) try to secure an Eastern Conference playoff spot. They enter Friday night's game against the New York Knicks with a magic number of two to reach the postseason.

A victory over the Knicks combined with a Philadelphia loss at Atlanta on Friday would put the Bucks in the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-'10 season.

And if it doesn't happen Friday, the Bucks will return home to play Toronto on Saturday night while the 76ers are at Miami.

Milwaukee has lost six of its last eight games to fall below the .500 mark, and it will play six of its final eight games on the road.

In the last three games, Ilyasova has hit 11 of 15 three-point attempts, raising his season three-point mark to 44.8%. He went 4 of 6 from beyond the arc against Oklahoma City, 4 of 4 against Charlotte and 3 of 5 in the Bucks' 107-98 loss to Minnesota on Wednesday.

Ilyasova has moved up to fourth in the league in three-point percentage, behind Detroit's Jose Calderon, Atlanta's Kyle Korver and Golden State's Stephen Curry.