TORONTO, April 4 (Ticker) --
The Milwaukee Bucks clinched a playoff
spot but are looking for something more.
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scored six of his 19 points in a key third-quarter
run as Milwaukee claimed a postseason berth for the second year
in a row with a 90-83 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
With their fifth trip to the playoffs in six seasons in the bag,
the Bucks (39-38) set their sights on home-court advantage in
the first round of the NBA playoffs. They took a half-game lead
over New Orleans (38-38) for fourth place in the Eastern
"It feels good that we're in, but we want a little more than
just a little bit in," Milwaukee coach Terry Porter said. "We
want to try and get home-court advantage so we have a lot more
to play (for) in these next six games."
The Bucks never stopped believing in themselves, even when they
started the season with a 9-12 record or when they lost eight of
nine in mid-March.
"It didn't matter what the media or the sports writers said or
anyone else. We knew what we were capable of," Skinner said.
"We came out and I think we've proven that. We've now got two
in a row on the road and the next games that we have, we've
beaten those teams."
With rookie Chris Bosh
guarding him, Skinner also grabbed a
season-high 14 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the
"The last two or three games we've tried to gather some low-post
presence, and Brian's really done a good job to get us good
opportunities down there when we've thrown it into him," Porter
said. "That's critical when you go into the playoffs."
Milwaukee took the lead for good with a 13-3 run in the third
quarter. Joe Smith
capped the spurt with a jumper with 54
seconds left to give the Bucks a 64-57 edge. The Raptors could
not come closer than six points thereafter.
contributed 17 points and Desmond Mason
had 16 for
Milwaukee, which has won 10 straight over Toronto, including
seven in a row here.
"We want to finish in that fourth spot and that's what's on our
minds, and if we keep playing hard we'll be in good shape to
finish in that position," Redd said.
scored 21 points and Vince Carter
added 18, but the
Raptors dropped their seventh in a row. They avoided being
officially eliminated from postseason play when Boston lost at
Washington on Sunday.
"It is frustrating to be out there and play like this, and have
things go this way," Carter said. "For us to get it get this
way, I think we are more than capable of competing with those
teams in the playoffs, and we are not getting it done."
Toronto is a franchise in disarray. General manager Glen
Grunwald was fired Thursday and coach Kevin O'Neill's status is
"Everything around your team does affect your team, whether the
team is good, bad or indifferent," said Rose, who also had seven
assists. "At the end of the day, we are professionals and we
owe it to our fans, we owe it to ourselves and our organization
to get out there and play with a winning attitude."