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Villanueva leads Bucks past Bobcats

Nov 23, 2008 - 4:30 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Charlie Villanueva continued his strong comeback Saturday night, helping the Milwaukee Bucks to a 79-74 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats Saturday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Villanueva, who had missed four games with a strained hamstring, scored 15 points in the victory a night after dropping 20 in Milwaukee's win over the New York Knicks.

"It was important to get this one on the road," Villanueva said. "It was something we couldn't do last year. You're going to have those ugly games, but we were able to play good defense for the win. I'm glad to be back and help us win these two games."

The Bucks are now riding a two-game winning streak despite committing 21 turnovers and shooting 36 percent from the floor.

"It's one of those games that with all the turnovers and the poor shooting percentage we're still able to win," Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. "Those types of wins add up at the end of the year."

Milwaukee took control in the third quarter behind nine points from Villanueva. The Bucks used a 10-0 run to open the second half capped by a Richard Jefferson dunk to take a 45-36 lead.

Gerald Wallace paced the Bobcats with 18 points while Emeka Okafor added a double-double with 16 points and 18 rebounds. Charlotte has dropped its last four and has not won since November 14.

The Bucks got 18 points off the bench from Ramon Sessions while Richard Jefferson scored 15.

"Tonight's win was a team effort," Jefferson said. "We were balanced throughout the game. We're still trying to get the system down, but overall I'm pleased with the way we played."

Wallace pulled Charlotte within a pair, 54-52, after sinking two free throws, but the Bucks closed the third on an 8-0 run which was capped by a three from Tyronn Lue for a 62-52 lead heading into the final period.

Trailing 71-61, the Bobcats mounted a comeback attempt and pulled within two after a three from the right corner by Raymond Felton.

The Bucks quickly answered with a pair of free throws from Ramon Sessions and a three-point play from Jefferson to take the 77-70 lead. However, Charlotte would not go away. The Bobcats pulled back within three, 77-74, on a runner in the lane from Shannon Brown.

"The object of the game is to put the ball in the basket and keep the opposing team from scoring as many as you do," Wallace said. "Tonight, we weren't able to do that. We were good in spurts, but when it came down to it we didn't convert and weren't able to put the ball in the basket."

Charlotte got the ball back with the shot clock turned off after a Milwaukee turnover, but Felton missed a driving layup and the Bucks grabbed the rebound and Sessions made another pair of free throws to seal the victory.

Milwaukee's Luke Ridnour left the game with a sore right knee and did not return.

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