Bucks 92, Raptors 86

In the end, there wasn’t anything Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis

or anybody else could do to save the Milwaukee Bucks’ faint playoff

hopes. Not even winning.

Jennings scored 25 points in the Bucks’ 92-86 victory over the

Toronto Raptors on Monday, but Milwaukee’s postseason fate had

already been decided. The Philadelphia 76ers beat the New Jersey

Nets earlier in the night, clinching the Eastern Conference’s final

playoff spot and eliminating the Bucks from contention.

”I’m disappointed – very disappointed,” Bucks coach Scott

Skiles said. ”We didn’t get done what we were expected to get

done, so if everybody in there is not very, very disappointed, then

we’ve got big problems.”

Ersan Ilyasova added 19 points and 15 rebounds for


Ellis played despite an injury to his shooting hand, scoring 17

points on 4-for-14 shooting.

Skiles said he wasn’t sure how badly the injury was bothering

Ellis, but said the guard left the bench and went to the locker

room with just over a minute left in the game.

”He battled through it tonight,” Skiles said. ”But with like

a minute to go, a minute-five, I guess, he said he couldn’t go any

more so he went in the locker room.”

James Johnson had 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Raptors, who

have lost four straight games.

Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan was ejected in the second quarter after

he was called for traveling and threw the ball down the court in


”No matter how tough it gets or how much frustration sets in,

fatigue, whatever it is, you’ve got to buckle up and roll with

it,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. ”We talked about it after

the game and it’s a teaching moment for him. It’s part of his

maturity process. When you’re the man on the team, you’ve got to be

responsible for that.”

But even without DeRozan – the top scorer in Toronto’s lineup

with Andrea Bargnani out injured – the Raptors stayed in control of

the game going into the fourth quarter.

With the Bucks trailing by two points, Jennings converted a

three-point play and Ellis made two free throws to give Milwaukee

an 82-79 lead with 3:27 left.

After a technical foul on Toronto’s Linas Kleiza, Jennings hit a

free throw for a four-point lead with 2:42 left.

”We can’t let frustration set in,” Casey said. ”We’ve got to

finish the games in professional ways and play the game the right

way. It was clearly a foul on (Kleiza). He ran over a guy and

compounded it with a technical. Hopefully, we learned from it.

That’s what we’re teaching right now.”

Toronto cut the lead to three points with 32.6 seconds left, but

Ilyasova hit two free throws to put the game away.

The Raptors had 22 turnovers, including nine in the fourth


”I think we just lost our composure,” guard Ben Uzoh said.

Trailing the 76ers by three games in the standings going into

Monday night, the Bucks needed to win their final three games and

have the 76ers lose their last three to make the playoffs.

The 76ers visit the Bucks on Wednesday night, and Milwaukee was

hoping to make that game meaningful.

”I didn’t really know until after the game that they had

clinched,” Jennings said.

Instead, Wednesday will just be a playoff tuneup for


”We were rooting for New Jersey, but it didn’t work out in our

favor,” Drew Gooden said. ”We handled our business tonight, but

it is what it is.”

The Bucks trailed by five points at halftime, then allowed the

Raptors to begin the third quarter with a 13-4 run.

Toronto took a 61-47 lead on a jumper by Gary Forbes, who was

knocked to the court and got up limping after the shot. Forbes was

able to stay in the game.

After a fourth-quarter rally couldn’t save their playoff hopes,

Jennings says the Bucks are playing for pride in their last two


”We still didn’t make the playoffs, but if we win these last

two games, at least we went out with some wins, and went out with

pride and dignity,” Jennings said.

Notes: Casey started James Johnson instead of Aaron Gray, moving

Amir Johnson to center. ”I’m putting things together,” James

Johnson said. ”Now that we have a couple of guys out I’m finally

putting the pieces together and it’s working out.” … Milwaukee

was without Carlos Delfino because of a right groin injury and Luc

Richard Mbah a Moute because of a sore right knee. … It was

Jennings’ fourth straight game with 25 or more points.