92 - 102 Final
  for this game

Bobcats recover from blowout loss, get revenge vs. Bucks

Jan 4, 2009 - 4:30 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Coming off their most lopsided loss of the season, the Charlotte Bobcats did their best to return the favor Saturday night, dealing the Milwaukee Bucks a 102-92 defeat in the back end of a home-and-home series.

The Bucks easily prevailed, 103-75, in the opener on Friday in Milwaukee. But the Bobcats got the better of them this time around, storming ahead in the second quarter on their way to snapping a three-game skid.

"I'm happy that we could respond after the struggle we had (Friday)," Charlotte coach Larry Brown said.

With five minutes left in the second, D.J. Augustin's short jumper sparked a 9-0 run to erase a one-point deficit and put Charlotte on top by eight. The rookie point guard closed the half with a 3-pointer to push the lead to 51-42.

"We hung around them for 14 minutes or so in the beginning of the game, but their pressure was bothering us and we starting dribbling around doing 1-on-1 instead of trying to go strong-to-weak and relying on each other," Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. "When we do that, we are not as strong offensively and we have a lot of trouble getting out of it."

Meanwhile, starting forwards Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw did most of the heavy lifting, combining for 45 points, nine boards, nine assists and four steals. Emeka Okafor scored seven of his 14 points in a 9-2 run late in the third to make it a 16-point edge.

"The offense was good and that's because of our energy," Diaw said. "We were more aggressive defensively. I think we were really focused defensively, running the sets, doing what coach was asking us."

The Bobcats turned it up even further in the final session. Holding a 14-point lead with just under eight minutes to go in the period, they engineered another 9-2 spurt to push their lead past the 20-point mark. Wallace opened up with a jumper and Matt Carroll followed with his second 3-pointer of the night.

Wallace added a short jumper and a pair of free throws to cap the surge as Charlotte opened up a 93-72 advantage.

"The coaches told me in the second half not to think about it. Just go out there and play, attack," Wallace said. "In the second half, I was just myself. I was able to be more aggressive and get to the basket. If I had the shot, I shot it."

The Bobcats let their foot off the gas down the stretch, allowing the Bucks to pull back to within 11 with two minutes left. But it was too little, too late.

"We knew they were going to come out with some fight tonight, especially with the way we beat them last night," Redd said. "They had more of a sense of urgency."

The back-to-back ballgames were night and day for the Bobcats. In Friday's loss, they shot just 38 percent, but improved that to 47 percent a night later. They got to the foul line nearly twice as often, going from 17 attempts to 33. They even cut their turnovers from 23 to 15.

"I think we played really bad last night," Diaw said. "They out-worked us so we had to come out aggressive tonight."

For Milwaukee, consistency continues to be a concern. The team won five of six last month but has alternated wins and losses since then.

The Bucks were playing without starting center Andrew Bogut, who has been nursing an ailing back and was sidelined in this one. The fourth-year center is averaging 11.5 points and 10.5 boards this season, but his productivity was limited even in Friday's win.

"This had nothing to do with Andrew being out; this was all about the way we need to play," Bucks forward Richard Jefferson said. "We can't be that team, that immature team that (says) Charlie Bell isn't here so we didn't play well or Redd's going to miss two games so we're not going to play well. You've got to go out and play regardless of the circumstances."

Dan Gadzuric started in his place on Saturday and collected eight points, five boards and three blocks. Richard Jefferson led the way with 19 points and seven boards, while Michael Redd chipped in 17 points.

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