Villanueva's double-double lifts Bucks over RaptorsJan 31, 2009 - 4:27 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- The return of Andrew Bogut paid dividends for the Milwaukee Bucks, but it was frontcourt mate Charlie Villanueva that carried them to the win on Friday.
Villanueva collected 26 points and 13 rebounds and the Bucks used a strong defensive performance to top the Toronto Raptors, 96-85.
Richard Jefferson had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists and Bogut added 13 points and eight boards off the bench in his first game back after an eight-game absence due to back spasms.
"He clogs up the paint," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "He's very good at protecting the basket. He knows everything we are trying to do defensively. He's vocal out there and kind of talks us through situations. And we can throw him the ball and he can score, so it was good to have him back."
The Australian has been dealing with back spasms for much of the season, but provided a spark whenever he came off the bench to help Milwaukee avoid a third straight loss.
Milwaukee trailed, 30-24, after the opening period but forged ahead by a pair at halftime. Toronto managed just 17 points in the second, but it was a dominant effort on the defensive end in the third quarter that put the game away for the Bucks.
Villanueva scored 10 points in the second to carry the Bucks.
"I just try and be aggressive and come out and try to play as hard as I can," Villanueva said. "I try to leave it all on the floor and try and get the win.
"I think our defense is how we won the game. We all know that we are in the eighth spot right now and we know that Toronto is right behind us."
The Raptors scored just 12 points on 25 percent shooting (5-of-20) coming out of the locker room. The Bucks opened the quarter on a 13-4 spurt over the first eight minutes and held an 11-point edge heading in the final period, 70-59.
"Sometimes, we have little letdowns and we let that carry over and we missed a few layups and things just weren't going our way," Raptors forward Chris Bosh said. "That's when (our) defense has to really be there. We gave up a few second-chance points and you can't let that happen so you can stay in the game and hopefully make a push at the end."
The lead ballooned to as much as 18 before Toronto cut the deficit to 86-78 with 3:59 to play. However, Bogut came on and threw down a dunk and the Bucks hit all six of their free throws in the final 79 seconds to ice the game.
"The key to the game was our defense in the last three quarters," Bogut said. "Without Michael Redd, we are going to have to do extra on defense because we're not going to score as much."
The win over Toronto was Milwaukee's first without Redd, who tore ligaments in his right knee on Saturday against Sacramento and is lost for the season.
Things got chippy late, with Toronto center Jermaine O'Neal receiving a second technical foul for jawing with Villanueva after knocking down Jefferson driving to the basket. O'Neal was whistled for his first technical nearly five minutes earlier for arguing another call.
"There were definitely some calls that were very questionable and very unusual," O'Neal said. "You don't usually see those type of calls in the fourth quarter when a team is making a run."
In his first stint off the bench, Bogut scored seven points in a four-minute stretch of the first quarter, but Andrea Bargnani scored 13 of his 16 points in the first quarter to give the Raptors the early lead.
Bosh registered 18 points and nine boards for Toronto, which saw its three-game winning streak snapped.
Toronto guard Jose Calderon saw his string of made free throws snapped at 87. In his first trip to the line, the Spaniard rolled in the first before bouncing his second shot off the rim. He fell 10 shy of the NBA record of 97 set by Micheal Williams in 1993.
"So I start over, and it's not a big thing for me," Calderon said. "The crowd was really into it. Now everybody can forget about it and I can try and do my job and help us win games and forget about the free throws. I'm mad that I missed a free throw but more that we didn't win a game."
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