By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jan 28, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Twice in the last week, the Bucks got beat at the buzzer.

So it's understandable that Wednesday, with Elton Brand going in for a last-second layup, the Bucks' hearts might have skipped a beat.

They'd just taken a 90-88 lead on a Brandon Jennings' floater with 22 seconds to play. The ball ended up in the hands of Brand, who was right in front of the basket.

"I was like, 'Oh, boy, here we go again'," said Jennings.

Alas, Brand's shot - and put-back - missed and Milwaukee escaped with a much-needed 91-88 victory.

"We dodged a bullet," said guard Charlie Bell.

The Bucks are still on the outside looking in when it comes down to the Eastern Conference playoff race. But they're not as far away as one might think.

Milwaukee has played a league-high 14 games decided by three points or less but is just 4-10 in those contests, a prime factor in the team's 19-25 record this season. A couple of those last-second losses go the other way and the two-game difference between the Bucks and Chicago, which currently holds the eighth and final playoff spot in the east, would be a different story.

If the Bucks want to make a serious run at the postseason, they'll need to start making a move soon. 

The Bucks' next three games are against Miami and Orlando with two of those on the road, where the Bucks are just 5-18 this season.

After that, it's New York, Indiana and Detroit, who are right behind the Bucks in the conference standings.

"You hate to say must-win." said Kurt Thomas. "You want to go out there, play hard and compete each night and rack up as many wins as possible. We're definitely at that point, though, if we want to make a run and get into the playoffs, we have to start getting some wins together."

Getting a victory like Wednesday's - a sloppy but successful effort the night following a tough loss - is a step in the right direction in Thomas' eyes.

"It shows a lot of growth," Thomas said. "Even though it was an ugly game, we were still able to scrap and get a win."

Jennings gets rookie nod: Brandon Jennings will represent the Bucks during All-Star weekend festivities next month in Dallas. Jenningssssss will participate in the Rookie Challenge on Friday, Feb. 12 and joins Sacramento guard Tyreke Evans, Sacramento forward Omar Casspi, Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, Detroit Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko, Golden State guard Stephen Curry, Minnesota guard Jonny Flynn, Oklahoma City guard James Harden, and San Antonio forward/center DeJuan Blair on the rookie team.

The only Bucks player to start and play in every game this season, Jennings leads the team with 17.7 points and 6.3 assists per game. Among rookies, he has the most assists and is second in scoring, free-throw percentage and minutes.

Jump shots: Andrew Bogut's 32 points against Dallas Tuesday night were a career-high. Twenty of those points came in the second half, when Bogut was 9-for-9 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line. ... The Bucks are 12-4 when Bogut scores 17 or more points in a game ... Milwaukee is 6-4 in the second half of back-to-back games ... Hakim Warrick's next game will be the 350th of his career ... The Bucks have won five in a row at home ... In two games with Iowa of the D-League, Joe Alexander 8.5 points and 5 rebounds.