CHICAGO, April 7 (UPI) -- John Salmons netted 26 points Tuesday and the Milwaukee Bucks downed Chicago 79-74 to clinch an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Salmons had a big night against his former team, and the Bucks have gone 19-6 since acquiring him from the Bulls at the trade deadline.
Ersan Ilyasova chipped in with 17 points and seven boards and Kurt Thomas hauled down 14 rebounds in the win, which gave the Bucks their first playoff berth since 2006. Milwaukee forged a tie with Miami for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but the Bucks hold the tiebreaker thanks to taking the season's series from the Heat.
However, they will have go to the post-season without injured star center Andrew Bogut, who is out for the season with a dislocated elbow.
Luol Deng scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Derrick Rose contributed 12 points and 11 assists for the Bulls, who saw their playoff hopes dim with the crucial loss.