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News » Shooting concerns Skiles But Ridnour's been marksman for Bucks

Shooting concerns Skiles But Ridnour's been marksman for Bucks

Shooting concerns Skiles  But Ridnour's been marksman for Bucks By CHARLES F. GARDNER

Sometimes Basketball can be a very complicated game.

Triangle offenses, zone defenses and late-game fouling strategies can be the difference between winning and losing.

But one simple thing is essential. The ball has to go in the basket.

The Milwaukee Bucks hit nearly 50% of their shots in a 108-101, double-overtime victory against Portland on Saturday night while holding the Trail Blazers to 40% shooting.

The Bucks' season field goal percentage number is 44%, which ranks 26th among the 30 National Basketball Association teams. Milwaukee is shooting better than just four teams - Charlotte, Indiana, Chicago and New Jersey.

It's a major source of concern for coach Scott Skiles, who believes the Bucks will improve their marksmanship.

"That's the difference between good college shooters and pro shooters," Skiles said. "When you're open in your range and your feet are set, that thing has to go in at a high percentage. I would tell you that most of the really good pro shooters, when their feet are set and I'm talking about (being) wide open, 75% of the time that thing should be right in the bottom of the goal.

"At other times, you've got to take off-balance shots and you're driving, you don't get fouled. So we need all our guys."

Center Andrew Bogut was 12 for 19 from the field (63.2%) while scoring a team-high 27 points for the Bucks on Saturday. Luke Ridnour continued his hot shooting with a 7-for-10 effort and 20 points in just 22 minutes off the bench.

Ridnour is shooting 51.8% in 22 games, making 101 of 195 shots. He has scored 36 points in the last two games, both Milwaukee victories, despite wearing a large brace to protect his dislocated left elbow.

"Luke has been a big factor for our team," Skiles said. "He's been one of our guys when his feet are set and he's open, you feel like it's going in. He's been putting them right in the middle."

Veteran guard Michael Redd returned to the Bucks lineup against Portland and sank 5 of 11 shots while playing 29 minutes. It was only his sixth game this season, due to a left patella tendon strain he suffered in the home opener in October.

If Redd can regain his health, the 30-year-old should be able to help with the Bucks' shooting woes.

"To me, it's pretty simple," Skiles said. "We need Michael to defend his spot and make shots.

"Michael can always score. He can put the ball on the floor and he's a guy who can get fouled for us. We have a lot of open shots right now in every game, and we need a guy like Michael to make open shots. Certainly he's done that before. I don't think there's anything unusual he's got to get adjusted to."

Even with Redd sidelined for most of the season, the Bucks have fared well beyond the three-point arc. They are shooting 37.9% as a team from three-point range, ranking fifth in the league.

And rookie point guard Brandon Jennings is shooting 44.6% on his three-point tries (50 for 112), a mark that ranks second in the league among players with more than 100 attempts, trailing only Danilo Gallinari of the New York Knicks.

Jennings hit 3 of 5 three-pointers against Portland, cashing in all his threes in the third quarter to help the Bucks take the lead.

Eight nearly enough: Portland had just nine players available on Saturday due to injuries, and Dante Cunningham played 2 minutes. So the Trail Blazers nearly pulled off a victory with significant contributions from eight players, including seven who scored.

LaMarcus Aldridge played 52 minutes, Brandon Roy played 44 and center Joel Przybilla played 44. Andre Miller piled up 34 minutes in a reserve role.

"They all gave us what they had, whatever they had in their tank," Portland interim coach Dean Demopoulos said. "We'll go home and get our leader and we'll feed off him."

Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan is set to rejoin the team for its home game against Sacramento on Tuesday. He missed all four games on Portland's road trip (1-3 record) after rupturing his right Achilles tendon while practicing with his short-handed team.

Double time: The Bucks won in double overtime for the first time since they topped the Orlando Magic on Feb. 8, 2006. The last time the Bucks had gone to double overtime was in a loss at Cleveland on Dec. 17, 2007.

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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