for this game

Bucks overcome Jazz jinx to remain hot

Dec 24, 2008 - 4:58 AM By Dave Cotey PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- It took nearly three years, but the Milwaukee Bucks finally solved the Utah Jazz.

Michael Redd scored 27 points and Ramon Sessions chipped in 13 as the Bucks beat the Jazz, 94-86, on Tuesday to snap an eight-game losing skid against Utah dating to January 8, 2005.

"I wasn't keeping count," Redd said of the losing streak. "We're just trying to keep working hard. We've still got a lot of work to do. There's a long way to go."

Whether it was truly stifling defense or merely a sloppy effort by the Jazz, it got the job done for Milwaukee. The Bucks held their opponent to just 38 percent shooting and forced 23 turnovers.

Luke Ridnour had 11 points and 11 assists and was one of six double-digit scorers for Milwaukee, which won its fifth game in six tries overall and fifth straight at home.

"We're battling," Ridnour said. "We're trying to get back to the .500 mark and just keep going up from there. But it doesn't get any easier."

Andrei Kirilenko had 22 points and 11 boards off the bench for the Jazz, who finished 2-3 on their longest road trip of the season that included five games in eight days.

"It turned into a bad trip," Utah point guard Deron Williams said. "We felt we had to come in here and win this won. We thought we had some good momentum (coming into the trip). We would have liked to have done better."

Milwaukee looked well on its way to a blowout in the third quarter, building its lead to as high as 19 points. But the Jazz stormed back behind Williams and Kirilenko, who carried them throughout the night despite turning the ball over seven times apiece.

The Jazz closed the third period with a 22-8 run to pull within five at 69-64. Williams and Kirilenko scored six points each during the spurt.

"It's tough to come back, especially on the road," Williams said. "It seems like you can creep back in, but can't get over the hump."

The Bucks extended their lead to 77-67 on Sessions' jumper with 9:27 left, but the Jazz went on a 10-0 run and tied the score on a pair of free throws from Kirilenko with 7:08 remaining.

Milwaukee regained a six-point edge with six straight free throws but two more foul shots by Kirilenko with 4:25 trimmed that margin to 83-81.

"I thought we fought back well to try to win the game, but we missed a few layups, had a goaltending call and missed a few free throws," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said.

But the Bucks closed with an 11-5 run, including Redd's jumper with 1:12 left that gave Milwaukee a comfortable cushion at 90-85.

"We needed every bit of that 19-point lead," Redd said. "We knew they'd fight back. They weren't going to back down. We just made plays when we had to."

The shorthanded Jazz played much of the game without its top three scorers and rebounders. Already without All-Star forward Carlos Boozer, who missed his 18th straight game with a strained left quad, Utah was also missing starting center Mehmet Okur. The sharp-shooting center sat out with back spasms, an injury that originally occurred in Chicago on December 20 and flared up during the morning shootaround on Tuesday.

Late in the first quarter, forward Paul Millsap was helped off the court by a pair of teammates after injuring his left knee in a collision with Redd. Millsap missed the entire second quarter, but X-rays were negative and he returned for the second half wearing a brace.

Millsap's time off the floor likely cost him a chance at franchise history. He came into the game with 15 consecutive double-doubles - three shy of John Stockton's team record. Against Milwaukee, he was held to 11 points and nine rebounds.

"I thought I felt something pop, but after (the training staff) examined it and I tried to walk on it, I felt pretty good," Millsap said. "When Michael fell on it, I hyper-extended it. I thought I could get back in and provide us with a little energy down the stretch."

The Bucks survived a combined 12-for-39 shooting effort from their top two scorers, Redd and Richard Jefferson, and won despite shooting just 39 percent as a team from the floor.

"On a night when Richard and Michael have a shooting night like they did, and we still get a win, it's a good night," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said.

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    UTAH 86

    Dec 23 10:27 PM
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    Jazz 81, Bucks 85  4th - 3:10Dec 23 10:14 PM

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    UTAH 64

    Dec 23 9:49 PM

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    UTAH 38

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    UTAH 18

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