CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 22 (Ticker) --
The All-Star break did
wonders for Michael Redd
's left finger.
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Redd tied his season high with 39 points as the Milwaukee Bucks
moved one step closer to sweeping their season series with the
Charlotte Bobcats with a 112-102 victory.
"I was just trying to win the game," Redd said. "We had a good
rest. Obviously the break was big for us as far as getting our
legs a little bit and we had a great performance."
"This isn't anything new to him," Charlotte head coach Bernie Bickerstaff
said of Redd. "He shoots the basketball. He makes
shots, and we run into these teams, where our problem is that
they have these go-to guys and they make plays. It's that
simple. The team is smart enough to get him the basketball and
he makes shots."
Missing his previous three games with a sprained left index
finger, Redd took over in the second half, scoring 25 of his
points, including 14 in the fourth quarter.
"I was really conscious of my finger at first and was worried
about how that would feel," Redd said. "But I had a good
practice yesterday. I wanted to come in and be aggressive
tonight and everything just flowed. It was sore, but I'll take
the soreness and that performance every day."
"It's pretty hard to defend anybody one-on-one in this league,"
Charlotte guard Keith Bogans
said. "But when a guy has it going
like he did tonight, you just have to pray that he misses the
shot or you get a hand in his face."
It was a performance that Milwaukee head coach Terry Porter
"He had it tonight," Porter said. "He was in the zone. Those
days off really gave him a chance to really rest. He came back
really fresh and didn't have any problems with his fingers."
After Charlotte took a 94-92 lead with 7:08 remaining on a pair
of free throws by Brevin Knight
, Milwaukee went on an 11-2 run,
grabbing a 103-96 cushion on two free throws by Redd with 4:43
to play. Redd scored four points during the spurt.
"The problem is when you dig holes and you have to fight all the
way back," Bickerstaff said. "The least little breakdown can
send you in a spin. Especially when you're playing a team that
has talent like that, they're going to make a play. And that
play can break your back.
"We just never had any control. Even when we went up two, there
was just never any feel to the basketball game."
With a turnaround jumper by Emeka Okafor
, the Bobcats came
within 103-101 with 3:46 left, but went without a field goal for
the remainder of the contest, missing their final five shots.
"We played well together tonight," Redd said. "Not only
offensively, but defensively. They fight hard no matter who it
is. They are a scrappy bunch that can really play and are
aggressive, and we had to match their intensity tonight."
During that span, Redd scored seven straight points and Desmond Mason
added a windmill jam in the closing seconds to seal the
Bucks' third straight victory over the Bobcats. The two teams
will complete their season series at the Bradley Center on April
"I don't know why we have been so successful against Charlotte,"
Mason said. "Every time we play the Bobcats it has been a
tough battle. Both teams fight to the end. I think the only
difference is that we make big shots down the stretch."
Redd, who scored eight of Milwaukee's final 11 points in the
contest, shot 15-of-24 from the field with four 3-pointers.
Mason added 20 points and six assists. The team tallied a
season-best 37 assists on 44 field goals, including a
career-high 14 from Maurice Williams.
"Mo did a great job," Porter said. "I can't say enough about
him. He had 14 assists tonight. He did a heck of a job for
Knight led a balanced scoring attack for Charlotte with 19
points. Gerald Wallace
scored 16 points and Okafor chipped in
12 and eight rebounds for the Bobcats, who had six players reach
double figures in the loss.
"I'm feeling pretty good right now," Knight said. "Teams are
forcing me to score more and taking away our wing players. If I
have to run the offense and pile up assists I will. If I have
to score, I'll do whatever it takes to help this team win."