MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Before hustling out of town to try to beat a
blizzard to New Jersey, the Milwaukee Bucks again took care of
business at home.
Milwaukee won its fifth straight home game, beating the
short-handed Charlotte Bobcats 99-93 Saturday night.
Michael Redd scored 18 points to lead the Bucks to another close
victory. Milwaukee beat Orlando in double-overtime Wednesday.
"Man, it's always good to get a 'W' -- blowout, close,
whatever," Bucks forward Joe Smith said. "But lately, we've had a
couple close ones, and it's always good to get a 'W."
The Bobcats, again playing without their top three scorers
because of injuries, got 21 points from Melvin Ely.
"We have to ad lib, which is basically what we've been doing,"
Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "The group has done a nice
job adjusting. We have to do different things with different
Bobcats guard Brevin Knight missed his second straight game with
a knee injury. The Bobcats already were without leading scorer
Gerald Wallace, who injured his knee last month. Emeka Okafor, the
Bobcats' second-leading scorer and top rebounder, has played in
only one game since spraining his right ankle Dec. 19.
Bobcats guard Raymond Felton also missed Friday's game because
of a sprained toe, but Felton returned to score 14 Saturday.
"Raymond tried to gut it out," Bickerstaff said. "He probably
should not have played."
As good as the Bucks have been at home, they've been just as bad
on the road, having lost four straight. They'll get a chance to
redeem themselves Sunday, presuming the weather cooperates.
Milwaukee is scheduled to play at New Jersey on Sunday night,
but a nor'easter snowstorm is causing flight delays and
cancellations on the East Coast. Bucks general manager Larry Harris
said he expected to make the game.
The Bucks have won three of their last four games, thanks in
large part to their defense. With the victory, the Bucks have held
their last eight opponents to 94 or fewer points.
"We tightened it up defensively in the fourth quarter," Bucks
coach Terry Stotts said. "I'd like for us to be more consistent
with our defense over 48 minutes. It's something that over the last
three or four weeks that we've honed in on, we just have to make
sure we do it throughout the game."
T.J. Ford's acrobatic driving layup -- a Michael Jordan-type shot
-- put the Bucks ahead 95-91 with 11 seconds left in the game. Ford,
who switched the ball from his right to his left hand while in the
air, joked that he "tried to imitate M.J."
Ely, who played much of the fourth quarter with five fouls, said
the Bobcats had too many defensive lapses.
"T.J. is an extremely fast guy," Ely said. "We played hard
and we just dropped the ball."
The Bobcats had a chance to tie or take the lead, but Kevin
Burleson was called for an offensive foul.
Redd missed a shot on the other end, but Jamaal Magloire grabbed
an offensive rebound and the Bucks called timeout with 24 seconds
left in the game and 15 on the shot clock.
Ford's layup put the Bucks ahead 95-91 with 11 seconds to play.
Carroll missed a 3-pointer, but Charlie Bell fouled him with 10
seconds remaining. Carroll hit two of three free throws, bringing
the Bobcats within two.
Redd hit two free throws and the Bobcats' Bernard Robinson
missed a layup. Bell was fouled on the rebound and hit two free
throws, putting Milwaukee ahead 99-93.
The Bobcats have lost two in a row.
Bobcats guard Kareem Rush was not with the team Saturday
because of undisclosed personal reasons. ... Bucks guard Jermaine
Jackson missed Saturday's game because of a death in the family,
Stotts said. ... The Bucks also had travel issues after Monday
night's game in Cleveland, when their plane had to make an
unscheduled landing in Grand Rapids, Mich. because of a mechanical
problem. ... The Bucks are 7-0 against the Bobcats.