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Williams scores 30 in return as Bucks edge Knicks

Jan 29, 2007 - 1:38 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Mo Williams came back just in time for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Williams returned to the lineup and scored five points in the last 40 seconds as the Bucks ended a six-game losing streak with a 107-105 victory over the New York Knicks.

Williams had 30 points and 10 assists for the Bucks, who nearly blew a 13-point fourth-quarter lead but held on to end their longest losing streak in nearly two years. Milwaukee also avoided its first winless month at home since April 1992.

An emerging star at point guard, Williams had missed the last nine games with a sprained left shoulder. The injury-riddled Bucks won just one of those games, falling into the Central Division cellar.

"I'm in tip-top shape," Williams said. "I did a lot of cardio constantly in the steam room. I didn't want to come back and have two games of rust before getting back into the swing of things. I knew we were yearning for a win, bad, and I wanted to come back and be ready to contribute at a high level."

"It's good to have him back," Bucks coach Terry Stotts said.

Milwaukee never trailed in the second half, with Williams making sure of that with 15 points in the final period. He helped the Bucks build an 87-74 lead with just under nine minutes to go.

The pesky Knicks rallied behind red-hot Jamal Crawford and closed to 102-100 with a minute to go on a 3-pointer by Stephon Marbury, who had 15 points and eight assists. Williams answered with a jumper with 39 seconds remaining.

Marbury made a layup with 28 seconds left, and the Knicks opted to play defense rather than foul. With the shot clock about to expire, Williams dribbled left across the lane and made a tough runner with 3.1 seconds to go.

"I told myself, 'I'm going to take this shot and if I do miss it, they're going to have three or four seconds to get a shot off. I'm not going to shoot it quick so they have a lot of time to think about it or create a shot,'" Williams said.

"I had to set it up right because it was an off-balanced shot. It wasn't a pressed shot, but I had to set my steps up and shoot it off one leg. It was an awkward shot, but I followed through and it went in for me."

Crawford made a 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds remaining, and the Knicks fouled Williams, who missed the first free throw and made the second, even though he was trying to miss. With just 0.4 seconds to work with, the Knicks could not get off a shot.

"It was funny but I was scared at the same time," Williams said. "I scooted over a few steps to the edge and tried to shoot it high so it would bounce up and kill time before they even got the rebound. I guess I'm too good of a free-throw shooter. I missed the one I was trying to make and made the one I was trying to miss."

Ruben Patterson scored 21 points off the bench and Andrew Bogut added 18 and nine rebounds for Milwaukee, which shot 51 percent (44-of-87) from the field and is starting to get healthier.

"We don't have a lot of playmakers, but we got one back and we're anticipating another as soon as he's ready to go," Bucks forward Brian Skinner said.

Forward Charlie Villanueva scored five points in his second game back from a shoulder injury. Star guard Michael Redd is expected back in two weeks.

"Everybody knows how much this win means to the team," Williams said. "Guys can feel good about coming into practice (Monday). It will be a better flight to Miami. We're confident now."

Crawford scored 15 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, leading New York's rally. The combo guard was coming off a career-high 52-point explosion in Friday's win over Miami.

"I think the first game after a game like that is probably the hardest," Crawford said. "My teammates encouraged me to stay with it. They weren't typically bad shots; they just weren't falling."

"I'm glad he waited too late (to find his stroke)," Williams said. "He played great. Crawford is one of the better shooting guards in the league. He's hard to guard. He's 6-5, 6-6 and can shoot it or put the ball on the floor."

David Lee had 19 points and 14 rebounds and Eddy Curry returned from a one-game absence due to a calf injury to score 15 points for the Knicks, who shot 50 percent (43-of-86) but lost for the third time in four games.

"I'm stiff and not quite where I want to be," Curry said. "I just wanted to go out and try and help the team."

The Knicks held a 36-35 lead before the Bucks took the lead for good with a 14-2 run sparked by four points each from Williams and Patterson.

New York did not get within one possession until Crawford's bucket made it 98-95 with 2:15 remaining. Patterson and Bogut answered with hoops on Milwaukee's next two possessions.

Milwaukee lost eight in a row from March 20-April 1, 2005.

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