Milwaukee 110, Los Angeles 90

MILWAUKEE, March 7 (AP) -- The way this season had gone for the Milwaukee Bucks, Michael Redd figures they were just about due for a lucky break.

The Bucks caught the undermanned Los Angeles Lakers at just the right time, taking advantage of Kobe Bryant's suspension and the absence of two other starters for a 110-90 victory on Wednesday night.

For a team that has had its own share of adversity and injury problems this season, it was nice to be on the giving end of a blowout for once.

"We've been hurting this season,'' Redd said. "Teams have been taking advantage of us.''

Bryant was suspended by the NBA earlier in the day for striking Minnesota Timberwolves guard Marko Jaric in the face during the Lakers' double-overtime loss on Tuesday night.

The Bryant suspension compounded existing injury problems for the Lakers, who dressed only nine players while losing their fourth straight game.

Lakers center Kwame Brown laughed when asked if Bryant would have made a difference.

"What do you think?'' Brown said. "Three championships, of course he is going to make a difference.''

Lakers coach Phil Jackson wasn't thrilled with the idea of spending the night looking down a largely empty bench - "I was just looking down there for some help, and there was nothing there,'' he said - but he also wasn't willing to let what was left of his team make excuses.

The Lakers held Redd in check after giving up 45 points to him earlier in the season, but they couldn't stop anybody else.

"On a night when Redd has a shooting night like that, he doesn't even have to figure in the game for them and they can beat us by 20 points, it's embarrassing,'' Jackson said.

Charlie Villanueva scored a season-high 26 points to lead Milwaukee. Charlie Bell added 20 points, 13 in the decisive third quarter, and Andrew Bogut scored 22 as the Bucks shot a season-best 59.5 percent from the floor.

The Bucks snapped a two-game losing streak and swept the Lakers for the first time since the 2000-01 season. Bryant or no Bryant, the victory still meant something for a struggling Milwaukee team that at one point was playing without four of its projected five starters going into the season.

"We know from experience, when you don't have your guys, it's hard to win games,'' Bucks coach Terry Stotts said.

With starting forwards Lamar Odom and Luke Walton and backup forwards Vladimir Radmanovic and Ronny Turiaf sitting out with injuries, Maurice Evans scored 22 and Brian Cook added 20 for Los Angeles, which lost its fourth straight.

Evans said the Lakers should have played better, even without their starters.

"We're all NBA players in this room,'' Evans said. "We're all capable.''

Los Angeles has lost 10 of its last 13 games.

It was the second suspension in just over a month for Bryant, who also was suspended one game after he hit San Antonio's Manu Ginobili in the face after taking a shot during a game in late January.

Jackson said it would have been a different ballgame with Bryant.

"Redd is going to come out there and play differently,'' Jackson said. "There is going to be more tension in the ballgame. But that was a flat game. You could see it from the beginning there wasn't enough energy.''

But the Bucks got an early energy boost from Bogut. The No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft hit nine of his first 10 shots - including seven straight at one point - as he came five points shy of his career high of 27, set against Charlotte Jan. 15.

"It's up and down,'' Bogut said. "Some games it's tough. Other games, like today, it's easy.''

And Milwaukee is hoping Villanueva's performance is a sign of more good things to come. The 6-11 forward has played in only 36 games this season because of nagging injuries.

Villanueva scored 15 points in the fourth quarter.

"I needed a game like this,'' Villanueva said. "I haven't had one in a long time. This is why, I think, they traded for me.''

Milwaukee improved to 4-5 since Redd returned from an injured patellar tendon in his left knee Feb. 20. Redd, who had 45 points in the Bucks' 109-105 victory in Los Angeles on Nov. 28, scored only 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting.

Redd said he didn't mind the fact that he didn't get another shot at showing up Bryant.

"He would have been a headache tonight,'' Redd said.

Notes: Mo Williams tied a season high with 13 assists and had only one turnover. ... The Bucks' previous season shooting high was 56.8 percent against San Antonio on Dec. 27.

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