Monta Ellis registered 22 points, nine assists and six steals and led the Milwaukee Bucks to a 100-83 rout against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.
Ellis was just 5-of-14 from the field, but made all 10 of his free throw attempts for the Bucks, who have won 12 straight games against Toronto. Brandon Jennings had 16 points and seven assists and Larry Sanders recorded 12 points, nine rebounds and six blocks in the victory.
With the win, Milwaukee clinched its first playoff berth in three seasons. The Bucks currently sit in the eighth spot of the Eastern Conference playoffs, two games behind Boston and four games behind Atlanta, with six games left on the schedule.
"It's official, but let's be honest, the last few weeks we knew we were going. Maybe we'll relax a little bit and pick up our play a little bit and get ready for the playoffs," Bucks forward Mike Dunleavy said. "As far as the actual clinching, I guess it feels good. Like I said, we've known for like a month now. There was nobody close to us. But I guess it's good to be official."
Alan Anderson and Quincy Acy scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, off the bench. Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan has 12 points apiece for the Raptors.
"We came out lethargic, had a hard time getting ourselves going," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "They dictated the tone of the game and we never got it back. We let frustration along with the Milwaukee Bucks spank us tonight."
Toronto initially had the lead, but after Brandon Jennings' triple put Milwaukee ahead, 8-6, with 8:22 left in the first quarter, the Bucks led for the rest of the contest.
Milwaukee entered the second quarter with a 26-16 lead.
The Bucks extended their edge to 24 points late in the period, before Kyle Lowry sank one from behind the arc and made a layup with one second left to close the half.
Milwaukee had a 61-42 advantage at halftime.
Both teams struggled to score in the third quarter, with the Raptors managing just 13 points in the period.
The Bucks capped a 17-2 run just past the midway point of the frame to increase their lead to 32 points at 78-46, and Milwaukee had an 80-55 advantage entering the fourth.
By then, both teams gave their bench players ample playing time. Toronto outscored Milwaukee, 28-20, including a 9-0 spurt late in the period, but the deficit was too great for the Raptors to come back.
Toronto's Terrence Ross scored 11 points ... The Raptors were 20-of-23 from the foul line ... Neither team made a 3-pointer in the third quarter ... Milwaukee swept the season series from Toronto for the third straight season ... The Raptors have not won a series against the Bucks since the 2007-08 campaign.