Monta Ellis had 22 points, 9 assists and 6 steals as the Bucks defeated the Toronto Raptors 100-83 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, clinching a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia’s loss to Miami helped Bucks lock up the playoff berth, Milwaukee’s first since the 2009-10 season.
“We kind of hit a rough patch here toward the end, but we’ve had some good patches too at certain times during the season, which enabled us to be in this position,” Bucks coach Jim Boylan recounted. “Pretty nice to be well placed to clinch when you have 6 games left.”
After losing 7 of its past 9 games, Milwaukee Bucks led just about the whole game and dominated from the beginning. The Bucks led by as much as 32 points and held the Raptors to 36 percent shooting from the field.
The Milwaukee Bucks shot 47 percent from the field and had 5 players score in double digits, including Brandon Jennings with 16.
Larry Sanders finished with 12 points, highlighted by two of eye-popping dunks, 9 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. Sanders’ 6 blocks made him the 1st Bucks player with at least 200 since Elmore Smith in 1975-76.
Alan Anderson led the Raptors (29-48) with 14 points. Quincy Acy scored a career-high 13 points, and Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar Derozan scored 12 each. The loss was Toronto’s 10th consecutive to Milwaukee.
“We came out lethargic,” Toronto Raptors coach Dwyane Casey said. “Had a hard time getting ourselves going. They dictated the tone of the game and we never got it back. Again, the NBA is a tough league. You need to be tough-minded in your approach. Tough-minded, not let disappointment set in. We let frustration together with the Milwaukee spank us tonight.”
The Bucks outscored Toronto 48-38 in the paint, 17-9 on 2nd-chance points and 17-10 on fast-break points.
“I do not think we are tired,” Raptors forward Amir Johnson declared. “We just had turnovers, and transition points killed us. Plenty of penetration points killed us and there goes your ball game right there.”
Jennings and Sanders combined for 14 points in the first quarter as Milwaukee Bucks shot 53 percent and permitted just 16 Toronto points, the lowest 1st-quarter total for a Milwaukee opponent this season.
An Ellis 3-pointer with 8:59 to play in the 2nd quarter gave Milwaukee a double-digit lead that would remain comfortable the rest of the game. Baseball betting line
Toronto Raptors scored just 4 points in the first 9 minutes of third quarter and watched Milwaukee’s lead grow from 19 at halftime to 32 points.
The Raptors opened fourth quarter with a 13-7 push, but would never cut the Bucks’ lead below 19 points as Milwaukee responded with an 8-2 run to bump the lead up to 25.
As for the playoff berth, forward Mike Dunleavy seemed more concerned about the rest of the regular season.
“I guess it’s good to be official,” he said. “You wish to get some momentum. You want to remain healthy. We might have liked to have moved up. I am not sure how probable that is, but with the way that it stands we’ve got a big task ahead us.”