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News » BUCKS 95, BOBCATS 88 Home stand ends in fashion

BUCKS 95, BOBCATS 88 Home stand ends in fashion

BUCKS 95, BOBCATS 88  Home stand ends in fashion By TOM ENLUND

It was a little rough around the edges, but the Milwaukee Bucks put an exclamation mark on the end of their longest home stand of the season by defeating the Charlotte Bobcats, 95-88, Friday night at the Bradley Center.

The Bucks , who will open a four-game trip Saturday in Memphis, finished the home stand with a 5-1 record. Guard Brandon Jennings scored 29 points, forward Hakim Warrick added 16 and forward Ersan Ilyasova scored 13 for the Bucks , who improved to 7-3 and took some momentum with them on the road.

"A win is a win," said guard Charlie Bell. "We went 5-1 on the home stand. It was big for us. The game we lost (to Dallas), we had just as many chances to win it. We're ready to go on the road and I think we're going on the road with a lot of confidence and hopefully we can make it a good road trip."

Said coach Scott Skiles, "Any win we get is a good win. We're happy to have it. It was good home stand and now we go out on the road. There's tough games out there. We're going to need to play a lot better than we've played the past two or three games."

Skiles, with tongue in cheek, credited the Bucks free-throw defense for the victory because Charlotte made only 26 of 43 foul shots (60.5%).

"The main reason we won the game was we played great defense on their free throws," said Skiles. "They only took 59 field-goal attempts because we were fouling them all the time and we were very, very fortunate to win this one."

The Bucks held the upper hand for much of the game, leading as many as 14 points in the first half and taking a 76-60 lead into the fourth quarter. The Bobcats scored eight straight points early in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 10, but Warrick converted a three-point play and then sank a jumper to give the Bucks an 83-68 lead with 8 minutes 51 seconds left that held up despite the fact that Charlotte paraded to the foul line after that.

The short-handed Bucks were without center Andrew Bogut, who missed his first game with the left-leg strain he suffered in Wednesday's game against New Jersey. Bogut joined Michael Redd (left knee) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (left foot) on the Bucks' list of walking wounded.

Dan Gadzuric started at center and Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson pitched in at the center spot also. Skiles has indicated the Bucks would probably take a "committee" approach to the center position while Bogut was out.

The Bucks hope to get healthier while on the road.

"On the road trip, Michael Redd should be back Wednesday and that gives us another piece," said Jennings. "I'm really happy that he'll be back so it'll take some pressure off me a little bit."

Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace scored 22 points each to lead the offensively challenged Bobcats, who were playing the final game of a three-game trip and, with team managing partner Michael Jordan looking on, lost their seventh straight game.

Getting 20 points from Jennings, the Bucks led at halftime, 53-41.

The Bucks made seven of their first eight shots and took a 16-8 lead. Charlotte came back to take a 21-20 lead, but with Jennings scoring 17 points, the Bucks led after one quarter, 30-25.

The Bucks ran off 10 straight points in the second quarter and held a 43-29 lead after a fast-break layup by Jennings with 6:05 left.

Charlotte made two of its first 10 shots in the quarter, missed all five of its free throws and turned the ball over three times. Late in the quarter, Ilyasova sank a three-point shot and was then fouled on another three-point try. He made all three free throws for a 49-38 lead.

Carlos Delfino, Ilyasova, Jennings and Jodie Meeks all sank three-pointers as Milwaukee extended its lead to 71-53 late in the third quarter and the Bucks held on in the fourth.

"We were able to grind it out," said Bell.

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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