Villanueva saves Bucks' win over KingsJan 17, 2009 - 8:00 AM By Tom Galland PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- For three quarters, the Milwaukee Bucks were Redd-hot. In the final 12 minutes, they almost wound up red-faced.
Michael Redd lit up the scoreboard with a season-high 44 points in the first three quarters and Charlie Villanueva added 25 and keyed the stretch run as the Milwaukee Bucks held on to defeat the Sacramento Kings, 129-122, on Friday.
Redd buried shot after shot from long range, hitting six 3-pointers in nine attempts, before taking a back seat to Villanueva in the fourth.
"Basically we owned that first quarter and they pretty much owned the last three quarters," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "There are going to be some teams that are going to sting you in a game like that, and they almost did."
After trailing by as many as 23, the Kings stormed back behind John Salmons' hot shooting late. Salmons scored 20 points in the fourth and the Kings were able cut the gap to two with 3 1/2 minutes left, 114-112.
Villanueva hit a 3-pointer to make it 117-112, then drove for a tough layup to push the lead back up to seven.
Salmons again came through, nailing a 3-pointer with 51 seconds left that pulled the Kings within three.
Villanueva delivered once more, converting two from the line to make it 125-120 with 40 seconds left. Milwaukee clinched it on a breakaway layup from rookie Luc Richard Mbah a Moute that made it 129-122 with 17 seconds left.
"The fact that Michael was so hot the first three quarters created openings for other guys in the fourth quarter," Villanueva said. "That's one of the reasons why we won.
"A win is a win, especially on the road. This is our ninth road win, more than we had last year, so it's an improvement."
Sacramento held Redd to three shot attempts - all misses - in the fourth, but his teammates stepped up.
"They collapsed on me a lot and I didn't want to make any foolish plays, just wanted to make the smart play," said Redd, who made 16-of-26 from the floor. "As a result, Charlie made a big three, Luke (Ridnour) hit a big shot. There were some big plays in that fourth quarter just by movement of the ball."
Salmons finished with 24 points on 7-of-9 shooting as the Kings shot 51.5 percent (35-of-68) to work their way back.
"Down the stretch, Villanueva had it going," Salmons said. "They had Michael Redd in the corner so you couldn't help off of him. They just ran a couple good plays down the stretch that were hard for us to stop."
It didn't take long for the Bucks to seize control. Helped by seven turnovers from Sacramento that resulted in 17 points, Milwaukee raced to a 37-18 advantage at the end of the first quarter as Redd single-handedly outscored the Kings with 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
"(I was) being aggressive (early) and really having a sense of urgency out there tonight," Redd said. "This was an important game for us tonight. I just wanted to lead by example and set the tone."
Sacramento showed life in the second quarter, cutting the lead to 12, but that was quickly doused when Francisco Elson put on his best Christian Laettner impression to close the half.
Charlie Bell inbounded to the 7-foot reserve center with 1.6 seconds left. Elson made a leaping grab, then calmly dribbled once, turned and launched a 3-pointer from the right wing that bristled through the net as time expired, giving Milwaukee to a 67-47 lead at the break.
"Obviously we need to start the game off better, but it shows a lot of heart and character to come back," said Kings rookie Jason Thompson, who notched a career high with 22 points by shooting 14-of-15 from the foul line.
With the loss, Sacramento fell to 0-15 against Eastern Conference teams this season, dropping 16 straight dating to last year.
SACRAMENTO 122 FINAL
Jan 17 12:46 AM
SACRAMENTO 83 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 17 12:05 AM
SACRAMENTO 47 HALFTIME
Jan 16 11:14 PM
SACRAMENTO 18 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 16 10:40 PM
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