THE FACTS: Monta Ellis tallied 22 points, nine assists and six steals as the Milwaukee Bucks clinched the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference with a 100-83 victory over the Toronto Raptors Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Coupled with the Miami Heat's 106-87 victory over Philadelphia, the Bucks wrapped up their first playoff appearance since 2010 and the 27th in franchise history.
Brandon Jennings chipped in 16 points and seven assists without a turnover as the Bucks improved to 37-39.
Alan Anderson led Toronto (29-48) with 14 points.
QUOTABLE: "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. 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."
-- Bucks forward Mike Dunleavy on officially clinching a playoff spot
THE STATS: The Bucks defense was especially active, as evidenced by Ellis' six steals and Larry Sanders' six blocked shots. Those active hands led to 18 Toronto turnovers and a shooting percentage of just 36.1 percent (30 for 83).
TURNING POINT: The Bucks led by 19 at the half but have been known to surrender big leads in the third quarter. Not tonight. They forced the Raptors to miss their first nine shots of the third quarter and held Toronto to just 13 third-quarter points.
QUOTABLE II: "We tried to establish ourselves on defense. Marquis (Daniels) did a great job on Rudy (Gay) and everybody was active in and out of the paint. We knew it was a big game so we tried to clinch it."
-- Sanders on the Bucks' defensive effort
HOT: Jennings set a strong offensive tone by scoring the Bucks' first eight points. He only added eight more, but his early scoring set a great tone for a night where the Bucks defense was particularly sharp.
NOT: Raptors starting forwards Gay (1-for-10) and Amir Johnson (1-for-7) combined to go just 2-for-17. Johnson had two of his shots blocked, and Gay had one blocked.
INSIDE THE ARENA: Fans chanted loudly for an appearance by veteran forward Drew Gooden, who had played in just 15 games entering the night and hadn't played in the last 13 games. With a big lead, Bucks coach Jim Boylan sent the veteran in with 2:45 left to loud cheers. "I asked Drew if he wanted to go in," Boylan said. "Sometimes veteran guys don't want to be put in that position. So I went down and said to him, 'Do you want to go in?' and he said, 'Yeah.' I respect Drew and I wouldn't want to embarrass him, but he was ready to go in so I figured go ahead."
GOOD MOVE: Boylan has been starting Daniels at small forward for the last couple of weeks and the veteran's defense on Gay was a big factor in setting the defensive tone.
ROOKIE WATCH: Forward Quincy Acy scored 13 points in 21 minutes and added two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
NOTABLE: Bucks forward Ekpe Udoh missed the game after suffering a sprained ankle in Friday night's loss at New York. Udoh was in a walking boot with crutches in the locker room. ... The Bucks are two games behind Boston for the seventh spot. Milwaukee owns the tie-breaker with the Celtics, but has five of its last six games on the road. ... Ellis now has a league-leading 10 games with five or more steals. ... Sanders' six blocks gave him 200 for the season. He's the first Buck with 200 blocks in a season since Elmore Smith in 1975-'76.
UP NEXT: For the Raptors, Tuesday @ Chicago, Friday vs. Chicago, April 14 vs. Brooklyn. For the Bucks, Tuesday @ Miami, Wednesday @ Orlando, Friday @ Atlanta.