Milwaukee Bucks Clinch Earliest Playoff Berth in Modern NBA History

The NBA postseason is not set to begin for another 55 days, but the Bucks have already qualified 

Milwaukee Bucks Clinch Earliest Playoff Berth in Modern NBA History
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks dunks the ball. (Stacy Revere/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / February 24, 2020 9:43 am

The NBA postseason is not set to begin for another 55 days, but the Milwaukee Bucks were able to qualify on Sunday … on their day off.

By virtue of the Washington Wizards losing to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, the Bucks, at 48-8, can finish no worse than eighth in the Eastern Conference. By clinching a playoff spot on February 23, the Bucks became the fastest team to lock up a playoff spot since the NBA went to its current playoff model in 1984.

The Bucks, who may be the best team of the millennium, are on pace to win 70 games, a feat that’s only been accomplished twice in NBA history, first by the 1995-96 Bulls (72 wins) and then again by the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors (73 wins).

Last season when the Bucks finished with a league-best 60 wins, they didn’t clinch a playoff spot until March 1.

Heading into play on Monday, Milwaukee owns a 6.5-game lead over second-place Toronto in the Eastern Conference standings. If the Bucks win Monday and the Orlando Magic lose in Brooklyn, Milwaukee will already be guaranteed no worse than the No. 7 seed.

Though it has been a team effort, the biggest driver of Milwaukee’s success this season has been reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

An All-Star for the fourth straight season, the 25-year-old is averaging 30 points, 13.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks in 30.9 minutes per game.

The NBA playoffs start on April 18.

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