Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 1/5

Game 1: Wednesday, January 5th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 19th
Game 3: Wednesday, February 23rd

Nets 74

(11-20, 5-12 away)

Bucks 97

(10-19, 8-7 home)

    7:00 PM ET, January 5, 2005

    BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

    1 2 3 4 T
    NJ 21 23 19 1174
    MIL 22 31 21 2397

    Top Performers

    NJ: J. Smith 19 Pts, 6 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl

    Mil: M. James 17 Pts, 5 Reb, 6 Ast, 3 Stl

    Smith, James score 17 each to lead Bucks

    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee Bucks capitalized on the New Jersey Nets' lack of cohesion and came away with an easy win.

    Joe Smith and reserve Mike James each scored 17 points to lead the Bucks to a 97-74 victory over the Nets on Wednesday night.

    Desmond Mason added 16 for the Bucks, who had lost three straight and eight of 11.

    Jabari Smith had career highs with 19 points and six assists in a season-high 36 minutes off the bench for the Nets, who came in scoring 86.5 points a game -- 29th in the NBA.

    Richard Jefferson added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets, who lost 112-88 to Washington on Tuesday. Vince Carter, who had a season-high 31 points Tuesday, scored 15 on 6-for-14 shooting in his fifth start for New Jersey.

    "With all the new guys, we just have to figure out what to do," Jason Kidd said after scoring 12 points. "It's not one person's fault. It's the team. We have to help each other out."

    The Nets missed nine of their first 11 shots, which allowed the Bucks to take an early lead that was never seriously challenged.

    "They beat us to a lot of loose balls," said Smith, who was the only player the Bucks couldn't defend. He was 6-of-10 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the line. "Some of us have to look in the mirror. We have to come together," he said.

    Carter had averaged 24 points in his first five games with New Jersey as he comes back from a strained Achilles tendon. Traded from Toronto on Dec. 17, the injury prevented him from making his debut until Dec. 27.

    "We're up and down right now, just trying to find our way through," he said.

    He limped off the court early in the third quarter after getting fouled by Mason during a scramble for a loose ball. He stood grimacing at the end of the bench as his left leg was treated, but he was back in the game less than a minute later.

    Carter said that he was kicked in the same Achilles tendon that has been bothering him.

    "It's a little sore right know," he said, soaking his feet in a bucket of ice. "It'll go down. It'll be all right."

    The Bucks' defense had been rather porous until facing the Nets.

    Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal had a career-high and NBA season-high 55 points in the Pacers' 116-99 victory over Milwaukee on Tuesday night. Less than a month ago, Philadelphia's Allen Iverson scored 54. Houston's Tracy McGrady scored 42 on Sunday. Iverson had 40 six days before he had 54.

    "We really rebounded from last night's loss," said Michael Redd, who scored 13 points and had a season-high eight assists.

    Bucks coach Terry Porter finally saw a better defensive game.

    "Tonight was a night where we had a lot of good execution of our defensive schemes," he said after his team allowed an average of just over 112 points in the four-game road trip that ended with the loss to the Pacers.

    Kidd's 3-pointer pulled the Nets to 58-51 with 8:39 left in the third quarter, but Mason, who had 10 points in the quarter, hit three free throws in a 60-second span to help the Bucks pull away.

    "From the top on down, we're not playing good basketball," Jefferson said. "It's a joke right now. This is unacceptable. We need to hold each other accountable."

    Milwaukee's lead got up to 23 by the time Kidd, Carter and Jefferson went to the bench with 6:07 left.

    Another bright spot for the Bucks was the return of forward Toni Kukoc, who was activated before the game after missing 23 games with a right hip strain.

    Kukoc tipped in a missed 3-point attempt by Erick Strickland that capped a 13-0 run and gave the Bucks a 38-23 lead early in the second quarter.

    Game notes

    The Nets re-signed forward Jerome Moiso to a 10-day contract after waiving forward Kaniel Dickens. The Bucks activated center Daniel Santiago (corneal abrasion) and waived guards Kendall Gill and Eddie House. .... Nets forward Brian Scalabrine (strained left hamstring) did not make the trip. ... Bucks forward Dan Gadzuric was out with back spasms. ... The threat of a major winter storm in the area may have factored into the season-low attendance of 13,081.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 74 97
    FGM-FGA 29-83 (.349) 35-65 (.538)
    3PM-3PA 2-14 (.143) 3-9 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 14-16 (.875) 24-34 (.706)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-39 5-39
    Assists 18 28
    Turnovers 17 16
    Steals 9 10
    Blocks 2 4
    Fast Break Points 4 17
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 19 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 26

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Jabari Smith Smith
    Points: 19
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Mike James James
    Points: 17
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0