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News » BUCKS 97, WIZARDS 91 Just over the top Effort enough to best last season's road record

BUCKS 97, WIZARDS 91 Just over the top Effort enough to best last season's road record

BUCKS 97, WIZARDS 91  Just over the top  Effort enough to best last season's road record
Washington - The Milwaukee Bucks will take their milestones where they can get them these days.

Their 97-91 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday night at the Verizon Center snapped a three-game road losing streak and left the Bucks with an 8-15 record away from home and one more road victory than they had all of last season.

"We had seven road wins last year and we have eight already," coach Scott Skiles said. "So we feel like we're moving in the right direction. We lost a very disappointing game the other night (in Minnesota) and it was nice that we could bounce back and get a win.

"Like a lot of teams that are floating around the .500 mark, we're searching for consistency. We actually played better in Minnesota than we played tonight so we want to stay focused on how we play. Tonight we won, which was great, but we didn't play as well, so we still have plenty of things to work on."

After playing a listless first half, the Bucks trailed by 11 points and were still down by 12 late in the third quarter. Reserve forward Charlie Villanueva sparked a rally that cut that lead to five going into the fourth when the Bucks were able to overtake the Wizards and hold them off down the stretch.

Michael Redd continued a string of solid performances by sinking 11 of 20 shots and scoring 29 points. Center Andrew Bogut returned to the starting lineup to score 18 points and grab 10 rebounds.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute also had 10 rebounds and point guard Luke Ridnour handed out 10 of the Bucks' 25 assists. Villanueva contributed 12 of his 16 points in the second half.

Washington backup guard Nick Young was on fire all night and scored a career-high 30 points, and Antawn Jamison added 25. Caron Butler, the star from Racine, Wis., suffered through a 2-for-13 shooting night and scored six points.

"This was a game we had to win after losing a tough one in Minnesota the other night," Redd said. "The second half we were determined to come back, especially the run we made at the end of the third quarter, which really loosened us for the fourth quarter."

Asked about surpassing the road-victory total from last season, Redd said: "We need to be proud of that right now. Obviously, we have a long way to go, but we need to keep moving. We accomplished our goal, as far as getting more (road) wins than we did last year.

"We're getting better. Even our losses. Last year, we had some games where we just got blown out. The effort has been there tremendously all year long. We just have to continue to mature in close situations and when we have a lead, don't let teams come back and beat us."

The Bucks trailed, 72-60, with 3 minutes left in the third quarter but a layup, jumper and three-pointer by Villanueva helped the Bucks cut the lead to 74-69 going into the fourth. Bogut scored four times inside and the Bucks took an 84-79 lead with 6:10 left. Redd and Young then engaged in a shootout, with a jumper by Young cutting the Bucks' lead to 90-89 with 1:33 left. But a three-pointer by Redd and a free throw by Villanueva put the Bucks back up by five and road victory No. 8 was in the book seconds later.

"That's a good sign for us and it's not even halfway through the season," Bogut said, referring to the team's road-victory total. "It proves that we can win games on the road. If we can win at home and split on the road, we'll be all right."

It won't go down as one of the Bucks' top performances of the season but it was a victory and they were more than willing to take it and head for home and a Wednesday matchup with Miami.

"This is one of those games where you don't play very well and you just hope you can get the win and get out of here," Skiles said.

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Added: January 13, 2009


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