THE FACTS: Monta Ellis scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half for the Milwaukee Bucks, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute deflected a pass in the final seconds that stalled a final attempt for the Philadelphia 76ers, giving the Bucks a 94-92 victory Wednesday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Mbah a Moute deflected Royal Ivey's soft cross-court pass seconds after Jrue Holiday won a jump ball with 5 seconds left against Mbah a Moute, who charged out to knock the pass down, then saved it near half court by batting it to the other end as the clock ran out.
Brandon Jennings added 21 points, and Samuel Dalembert finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks as the Bucks (26-25) snapped a four-game losing streak and increased their lead to four games plus the tiebreaker over the Sixers for the eighth playoff spot in the East.
Evan Turner led the Sixers (22-29) with 20, and Spencer Hawes added 19 points and nine assists. All-star guard Holiday finished with 16 points and 12 assists, but it was his missed shot with 8 seconds left that set up the jump ball and closing sequence.
QUOTABLE: "I read it out of Royal's hands. I figured he was looking for their best player to take the last shot, so I saw Jrue on the other side and I just anticipated."
-- Luc Mbah a Moute on his game-saving pass deflection
THE STAT: The Bucks came out flat and never led in the first half. Milwaukee trailed 50-43 at the break and had no blocked shots. In the second half, an active Milwaukee defense had 10 blocked shots. That statistic exemplifies the difference in energy the Bucks played with in the second half.
TURNING POINT: Milwaukee held a slim 85-83 edge and inbounded from under the basket with 5:18 left in the game and just over 2 seconds on the shot clock. Dalembert caught the inbounds pass on the right wing, hesitated as if to pass and then realized he had to shoot it. His 13-foot, turnaround jumper connected and kept the Milwaukee momentum going.
QUOTABLE II: "Obviously [the game was] huge. Not only to stop the bleeding of our four-game losing streak, but going into the break and beating the team that's right on our tail in the playoff position. To get the tiebreaker and another full game up on them -- definitely the most important game to date in the season."
-- Bucks forward Mike Dunleavy
HOT: Dalembert went 8-for-13 on a night where the rest of the Bucks went 29-for-75 (38.7 percent).
NOT: Holiday was just 6-for-17, including the miss on the 76ers' final field goal attempt with about 8 seconds left.
GOOD MOVE: Bucks coach Jim Boylan played both Ellis and Jennings the full 24 minutes in the second half. Ellis finished at 46 minutes, 9 seconds and Jennings played 42:46.
QUOTABLE III: "I just felt like that's what I needed to do. I needed to keep those guys out there. They were both playing well, so I just felt comfortable with it. I know we've got the break coming up, so I wasn't concerned with the next game."
-- Bucks coach Jim Boylan on playing Ellis and Jennings all of the second half
ROOKIE WATCH: Sixers forward Arnett Moultrie played just under 20 minutes and posted five points and eight rebounds.
NOTABLE: The Bucks clinched the season series and any potential tiebreaker by taking a 3-0 lead in the season series. The teams meet again in Philadelphia on March 27. ... Bucks starting center Larry Sanders missed his fourth straight game with a bruised lower back. Sanders went to Chicago for further medical tests, and the Bucks were awaiting the results on Wednesday. ... Philadelphia made 26 of its first 45 shots to lead, 66-57, but then went just 8-for-31 the rest of the way. ... Dalembert posted his sixth double-double of the season -- all within the last nine games. ... Nick Young scored 12 points in the first 8 minutes for Philadelphia, but just two more the rest of the way. ... 76ers forward Thaddeus Young missed his fourth straight game with a strained left hamstring.
UP NEXT: For the 76ers, Wednesday @ Minnesota, Feb. 23 vs. Miami, Feb. 24 @ New York. For the Bucks, Tuesday @ Brooklyn, Wednesday vs. Brooklyn, Feb. 23 vs. Atlanta.