NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The crowd let out a groan when the Milwaukee
Bucks fouled J.R. Smith, forcing the Hornets rookie to take crucial
free throws with 3.9 seconds left.
But veteran New Orleans forward P.J. Brown took the big view.
"They've got to understand that's their future and he needs to
be in those situations more," Brown said. "He's going to be a
go-to guy -- a franchise guy soon -- so, hopefully, this was another
step in that process."
Smith closed out a 17-point night by hitting three of four free
throws in the final 4 seconds, sealing the Hornets' 111-107 victory
over the Bucks on Saturday night.
The clutch foul shooting came one game after Smith missed two
free-throws with 1.5 seconds remaining in a one-point loss to New
Smith was the first one on the court before Saturday's game,
practicing free throws. He also got some advice from Brown just
before stepping to the line for the first of his late free throws.
"He told me to finish on my toes, follow through, just shoot it
like you do in practice," said Smith, who couldn't avoid thinking
about his misses against New Jersey as he prepared to shoot. "It's
hard not to. During practice, a lot of people were going on and on
about missing free throws. Just coming in the game, knowing I've
got to make my foul shots helped me."
Milwaukee still had a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer,
but Maurice Williams landed on the sideline as he hauled in a high
crosscourt inbound pass from Desmond Mason. Milwaukee fouled
immediately, putting Smith back on the line. He made one of two
free throws to seal it.
Brown had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Hornets, none more
important than his long rebound and jumper in the lane to give New
Orleans a 104-100 lead with 42 seconds left.
Michael Redd scored 29 points, hitting a 3-pointer with 4.3
seconds left that got the Bucks' as close as 108-107.
"We played poorly tonight overall and still ... had a chance to
win the game," Redd said. "We just need to dig in and grind a
little more and come out with more firepower in the third."
Williams finished with 19 points. Anthony Goldwire added 14
points on 4-for-5 shooting from 3-point range. Mason scored 11
points and Dan Gadzuric had 10 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.
The Hornets scored on nine of their first 10 possessions in the
second half and shot 15-for-19 in the period. They used a 19-8 run
to open up their biggest lead of the game at 85-71. Nailon made six
straight baskets during the run, and Brown closed it out with a
pair of free throws.
"That was pretty much the game," Bucks coach Terry Porter
said. "We talked about setting the tone in the second half, and
they came out and shot (nearly) 80 percent. ... You allow a team to
get out and you have no margin for error."
Milwaukee stopped its slide in the fourth quarter by going
inside. The result was quick points from Marcus Fizer, Toni Kukoc
and Gadzuric, as well as several New Orleans fouls that put the
Hornets over the limit with 3:40 to go.
Milwaukee got nine points on free throws from that point,
closing within 102-100 on Williams' free throws with 53 seconds
Mason left the game in after the first quarter with an
abdominal strain, but returned late in the second quarter. ...
Mason was called for a technical foul in the third quarter while he
was sitting on the bench, shortly after coming out of the game
following a traveling violation. ... Kukoc rimmed out a 94-foot
one-handed heave at the end of the third quarter. ... Milwaukee is
0-10 on the road against the Western Conference. ... Chris Andersen
had nine points and 10 rebounds but missed five free throws. ...
The Hornets stopped a two-game losing skid, while Milwaukee has
lost two straight.