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Ford's layup lifts Bucks past injury-riddled Bobcats

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Milwaukee Bucks blew an 18-point lead
against a second-year expansion team missing three starters to
injury, then found a way to win another close game.

T.J. Ford's driving layup with 15 seconds left gave the Bucks a
103-102 win over the undermanned Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night.

The Bucks let the big second-quarter lead slip away against the
Bobcats, who were missing six players to injury in all. But
Milwaukee closed the game on 9-2 run to improve to 13-0 in games
decided by six points or less.

Michael Redd scored 26 points, Bobby Simmons added 20 and rookie
Andrew Bogut had 18 points and a career high-tying 17 rebounds for
the Bucks, who overcame 23 turnovers.

"We turned the ball over too much tonight, but in the last
three minutes we stepped up," Redd said. "Our confidence in close
games prevailed tonight."

After Charlotte missed two shots, Ford picked up a loose ball
near midcourt, drove the lane and laid it in to put the Bucks
ahead.

"We got lucky and scrambled and got the loose ball and picked
it up," Ford said. "I'm so happy I was in the right place at the
right time and finished."

The Bobcats had a chance to win it, but Jumaine Jones and Matt
Carroll both missed long jumpers before the buzzer.

"We had two good looks in the last few seconds," Bobcats coach
Bernie Bickerstaff said. "You had guys who shoot the ball from the
outside, and shoot it well, that took the shots. Call it the bounce
of the basketball."

Gerald Wallace had 21 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and a
team record-tying eight steals for Charlotte. Raymond Felton added
19 points, eight rebounds and six assists as the Bobcats lost for
the sixth time in seven games.

The Bobcats took their first lead at 82-80 on Felton's jumper
with 10:02 left in the game. They pushed the lead to 88-82 on
Felton's 3-pointer with 3:26 left.

Charlotte dressed just nine players. Point guard Brevin Knight
was a game-day scratch with back spasms. Emeka Okafor missed his
second straight game with a sprained right ankle and was wearing a
protective boot. Kareem Rush (finger), Melvin Ely (ankle), Sean May
(knee) and Jake Voskuhl (ankle) also did not play.

Milwaukee took advantage of Charlotte's small lineup right away.
The Bucks had 18 points in the paint and Bogut had 12 points and
eight rebounds in the first quarter to take a 31-15 lead.

The lead reached 35-17 before the Bobcats rallied behind
Wallace. He had five steals in the second quarter, three which
ended in powerful dunks. The last steal and dunk made it 43-37 with
3:46 left.

"By the time the second quarter came around we had dug
ourselves a hole. I had to find a some kind of way to help us
out," said Wallace, whose eight steals were an NBA season high and
three shy of the league record held by Larry Kenon and Kendall
Gill. "I had to get my (sore) hamstring loose, and I knew I had to
step it up."

The Bucks expanded the lead to 13 in the third quarter, but
Charlotte used a 20-4 run to take the lead, with Carroll scoring
nine points in the spurt.

"My hats off to Charlotte, they did a hell of a job,"
Milwaukee coach Terry Stotts said. "They played short-handed with
not much to lose and did a great job."

Game Notes
Bickerstaff said Knight would play Saturday at Detroit, but
none of the other injured players are ready to return. "The only
member of the calvary coming over the hill will be Brevin,"
Bickerstaff said. ... Milwaukee guard Mo Williams missed his third
straight game with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He received
treatment before the game, but his return is uncertain. ... The
Bucks players and coaching staff Thursday watched the movie "Glory
Road," the story of Texas Western winning the 1966 national
championship while fielding the first all-black starting five. "We
wanted to do it on the road. I think the players enjoyed it,"
Stotts said.