Milwaukee Bucks become earliest team to clinch playoff spot in NBA history

As the Milwaukee Bucks steam towards the top seed in the Eastern Conference and potentially 70 wins, officially clinching a playoff spot was a mere formality. Their spot in the postseason is now secure, and they made a bit of NBA history in the process.

With the Washington Wizards' loss Sunday night, the Bucks became the first team to clinch a berth in this season's playoffs. Feb. 23 is the earliest date on the calendar that a team has clinched in NBA history. Milwaukee bested the prior mark of Feb. 25 set by the Golden State Warriors in 2017. 

The Bucks sit atop the East with a league-best 48-8 record after a decisive rout of the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday. They remain on pace for 70 wins, the hallowed mark reached by only two teams in NBA history.

Milwaukee boasts a league-best point differential of +12.4. The Bucks are first in the league in defensive rating and third in offensive rating, according to statistics. Their net rating of 11.8 is the best in the league and nearly five points higher than the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers (tied at 7.1).

The playoffs start April 18 — nearly two months from now.

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