Bucks Beat Raps Despite Villanueva’s 48
Milwaukee 125, Toronto 116 (OT)
MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Michael Redd helped the Milwaukee Bucks overcome a sensational effort from Toronto Raptors rookie Charlie Villanueva.
Redd scored eight of his 35 points in overtime as the Bucks defeated the Raptors, 125-116.
Nine of Milwaukee's last 12 games are against teams in the postseason hunt.
"I don't want to say that our playoff lives were on the line, but we knew that this was a key game for us to win because our schedule doesn't get any easier," Smith said.
The Bucks nearly lost to the Raptors (26-44) because of Villanueva, who scored 48 points - a team record for a rookie and three shy of Vince Carter's franchise record against Phoenix on February 27, 2000.
"(Villanueva) played well, (but) anybody can get hot in this league," Redd said. "But we got the win and I'm proud of the way we finished today."
The 6-11 forward from Connecticut made 20-of-32 shots, including 6-of-11 3-pointers, to help make up for the absence of All-Star Chris Bosh, who sprained his left thumb seven minutes into the contest and did not return.
"I've been in that kind of zone before, but to do it on this level feels great," said Villanueva, who fell two points shy of becoming the first rookie to score 50 points in nearly nine years. "When Chris went down, someone had to step up to the challenge."
Villanueva partially attributed his performance to finding out that the top-seeded Huskies had been stunned in overtime by George Mason in the NCAA Tournament regional finals.
"I found out at halftime that they lost and that gave me some extra fire to go out there in the second half," Villanueva said.
Toronto trailed, 109-107, before Villanueva followed in a missed layup by Morris Peterson with 9.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Redd narrowly missed a scoop layup before the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.
Matt Bonner gave the Raptors a 114-113 edge on a 3-pointer with 2:33 left in the extra session before Redd countered with a shot from the arc 20 seconds later to give the Bucks the lead for good.
"I'm proud of my team," said Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, who was ejected in the final minute of overtime. "We played hard and one of our better players got hurt, and I couldn't ask for any more of my guys."
Toronto had opened a 91-83 lead on a jumper by Villanueva with 10:40 to play in regulation before Milwaukee embarked on an 11-2 run. Neither team led by more than three points the remainder of the quarter.