A week ago, tonight's matchup between the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks had heavy playoff implications. Now there are none since the 76ers already clinched a postseason berth.
Philadelphia is still fighting for playoff position and will resume a season- ending five-game road trip tonight at the Bradley Center. The 76ers have won three in a row since losing seven of nine games and are coming off Monday's 105-87 win at New Jersey.
Thaddeus Young scored all 15 of his points in the second half, while Elton Brand and Jrue Holiday also chipped in 15 points apiece for the Sixers, who secured their first winning season since 2004-05 and are headed to the playoffs for a second straight year and fourth time in five seasons.
"This was a game we definitely needed to get. ... We just wanted to get it over with and finally clinch," Young said.
Andre Iguodala recorded 14 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in a winning cause, helping the Sixers improve to 15-16 as the guest and 17-3 when scoring 100-plus points. Philly will close out the regular season Thursday against Detroit, and is even with New York for the last two spots in the East. The Knicks, who hold the tiebreaker with the Sixers, will host the Clippers tonight and will visit Charlotte in the regular season finale on Thursday.
Milwaukee will host Philadelphia and visit Boston to close out the 2011-12 season, and is out of the playoff scene for the fifth time in six years.
The Bucks were eliminated from postseason contention when the Sixers topped the Nets, and recorded a 92-86 victory over the Toronto Raptors in the second test of a three-game homestand. Brandon Jennings scored 25 points, Ersan Ilyasova netted 19 points and Monta Ellis contributed 17 for Milwaukee, which has won two straight since losing three in a row.
Jennings summed up the Bucks' demise after the game.
"We weren't able to close out games and that killed us," said Jennings. "We didn't finish games and that's the story. We lost some close games."
The Bucks and Sixers have split a pair of meetings so far this season with each team holding serve as the host. Philadelphia is 10-5 in the previous 15 matchups with Milwaukee, which has won three straight and four of five as the host in this series.