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News » Big blast BOBCATS 94, BUCKS 87 Sputtering toward opener

Big blast BOBCATS 94, BUCKS 87 Sputtering toward opener

Big blast  BOBCATS 94, BUCKS 87  Sputtering toward opener By CHARLES F. GARDNER

Charlotte, N.C. - A strong four-game run ended for the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

But rather than obsess about it, the Bucks are determined to move on to their final preseason game Friday and preparations for the regular-season opener at Philadelphia on Oct. 30.

There were few redeeming features in the Bucks' 94-87 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Point guard Brandon Jennings had nearly as many turnovers (four) as points (six) in the opening half, and the Bucks committed 14 turnovers in the half en route to a 15-point deficit at intermission.

"We came out flat, with no energy," Bucks center Andrew Bogut said. "That was the worst first half of Basketball we have played for this season so far, including practices, scrimmage.

"The second half was much better, but there's no excuse for the way we played in the first half. That's accountability-wise, everyone including myself. We just didn't do a good job."

Bogut did play 28 minutes within the first three quarters before sitting out the final period, his longest outing of the preseason, and he finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Three other Bucks players also totaled 14 points - Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova and Jennings.

But the 6-foot-1 Jennings, making his second straight start, wasn't happy with his effort. On one play in the first half, he simply fumbled it away to start a Charlotte fast break.

"We were just out of sync tonight," Jennings said. "The first half, you would have thought we were down by 30. We played better in the second half.

"I don't know what was going on. Just a bad day. But I'm glad we picked it up in the second half, instead of just laying out there and getting beat up."

The Bobcats (2-5) were coming off a pair of losses - to the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah - in a weekend tournament at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. And they received some bad news Tuesday when it was learned that starting guard Raja Bell suffered a ligament tear in his left wrist against Utah on Sunday.

But they benefited from the debut of 7-foot-1 center Tyson Chandler, who was able to start the game and play 14 minutes after recovering from ankle surgery.

And the Bobcats received strong contributions off the bench from rookie Gerald Henderson, who had 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting, and center Nazr Mohammed, who had all 12 of his points in the first half.

Point guard D.J. Augustin paced the Bobcats with 15 points, four steals and three assists.

Bucks coach Scott Skiles didn't see this performance coming after his team had won three of its previous four games and played well in all of them.

"For whatever reason, we had low energy and we were sloppy with the ball," Skiles said. "It was just busted defensive coverage after busted defensive coverage.

"I know it's still preseason, and it's one game. We had been playing well.

"But there's a difference between teams that win 58 games and teams that win 35. And a lot of it is how much can they bring it? In the NBA, if you're just a little bit off, the talent can really beat you."

The Bucks did claw back in the third quarter behind 3 three-pointers from Delfino and six points apiece from Bogut and Jennings. But after Ilyasova drained a three-pointer to cut Charlotte's lead to 70-68 early in the fourth quarter, the Bucks seemed spent.

Charlotte went on a quick 10-3 run, helped by a three-point play by Stephen Graham and a three-pointer by Vladimir Radmanovic.

Jennings said he is sure the Bucks can shake off the defeat.

"I'm ready for the regular season to start now," Jennings said. "I think we've played enough preseason games. We've got one more, so let's try to win that and bring that confidence on to the next game."

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

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Added: October 22, 2009


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