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Jefferson, Bucks outlast Warriors

Mar 8, 2009 - 6:09 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Richard Jefferson scored a season-high 35 points as the Milwaukee Bucks staved off the Golden State Warriors, 127-120, on Saturday.

The Bucks built a 15-point lead and watched it dissolve only to assert themselves again down the stretch and send Golden State to its third straight defeat on this swing.

"I feel like I've said it a couple of times, but I feel that Jefferson is having a great year for us," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "He's a very unselfish player and I don't think he gets enough credit for that. When he's covered, he moves the ball and in games like tonight when he can get by his man, he took advantage of that and got fouled. On nights where people are crowding him a little bit he moves the ball along and has been a nice guy to run the offense through."

The game was tied at 108-108 when Milwaukee went on what turned out to be the burst that gave them the game.

Jefferson had four points and Charlie Villanueva added five as Milwaukee went on a 14-6 surge to open breathing room.

"When you play against teams like Golden State, you want to play up-tempo, but you don't want to get too crazy jacking up shots with them," Jefferson said. "I thought (Ramon) Sessions and (Luke) Ridnour did a good job of playing at the pace that we needed.

"It was much-needed. We had a couple games where we couldn't get over the hump. New Jersey, Chicago, New Orleans, a couple of games we were playing solid basketball we just didn't have that experience down the stretch."

Golden State did not go quietly, scoring four in a row to make it a four-point game again at 122-118.

Jefferson's free throw and pair from the line by Luke Ridnour were sandwiched around a dunk by Stephen Jackson to make it 125-120 in the final seconds. Golden State's last chance went awry when they committed their 20th turnover on an inbounds pass. The turnovers led to 31 points for the Bucks.

"It's something we have to do to win, especially against a team like Golden State who switches everything," Ridnour said. "You have to move the ball and get easier shots. This was a big win for us just because it starts our home stand and we need to keep it going."

Don Nelson was satisfied with the Warriors' effort.

"Well it ended up a good game," Nelson said. "I thought the 20 turnovers killed us. We got them in the open court and it led to a lot of easy baskets. It seemed like they scored every time we turned it over in the first half. We battled. We hung in there. We didn't quit."

Milwaukee also was on target from long distance, hitting 9-of-17 from beyond the arc.

Jamal Crawford led Golden State with 32 points. Stephen Jackson added a double-double of 23 points and 11 assists.

"It was still a loss," Captain Jackson said. "The thing about it is we're trying to finish this year up on a good note and get these young guys some confidence. I think the biggest thing for us is to finish the season as positive as we can and try to finish up the season with as many wins as we can."