Jefferson's 35 leads Bucks over ThunderApr 12, 2009 - 3:38 AM MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Richard Jefferson's first shot clanked off the rim and lodged awkwardly behind the basket in the shot clock supports. After Thunder center Nenad Krstic got it down with the help of a ballboy's mop handle, Jefferson's night got a whole lot better.
Jefferson finished 13-of-21 from the field to tie a season high with 35 points and the Milwaukee Bucks snapped a four-game losing streak with a 115-98 victory over Oklahoma City on Saturday night.
"My first shot got stuck on the backboard. You never how your night is going to go after that for a first shot, but after that my teammates got me the ball in some good spots and I was just able to keep knocking them down," said Jefferson, who also had nine rebounds.
Luke Ridnour scored 18 points and Charlie Villanueva added 14 for the Bucks, who have long been eliminated from the postseason race but will finish with a winning record at home (21-19) with one final game at the Bradley Center on Monday against Orlando.
Jefferson, who scored at least 30 points for the sixth time this season, was the biggest reason Milwaukee clung to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference until March despite losing Andrew Bogut (back) and Michael Redd (knee) to season-ending injuries much earlier in the season.
"When he's knocking down his jump shots, there's nothing you can do about it," said Kevin Durant, who had 19 points. "We were getting hands up and contesting but they were going in."
Unfortunately, Jefferson simply couldn't carry the load every night and the Bucks rarely got the balanced scoring effort they enjoyed Saturday night while losing nine of their last 11.
On Friday night, the Thunder played the role of spoiler by eliminating Charlotte from the postseason with an 84-81 victory in Oklahoma City's final home game of its inaugural season there.
Against Milwaukee, Durant started slow and rookie Russell Westbrook had 13, but to be competitive in the Western Conference, the young Thunder must learn to win on the road after falling to 7-32 away from the Ford Center.
"I've been on that end, too, where you have a young team and you have a big win and you go on the road, and you don't quite bring it like they're capable of bringing it," Bucks first-year coach Scott Skiles said. "Our job is to take advantage of that, and we did."
Durant tied the game with a jumper late in the second quarter, but the Bucks began pulling away, first with an 11-2 run to start the second half to take a 67-53 lead, then pushing it to 93-72 entering the fourth thanks to Jefferson's 13 in the quarter.
For the Thunder, it was a homecoming for Beloit, Wis. native Kyle Weaver. The Thunder guard started because of an injury to Thabo Sefolosha and finished with 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting, most in garbage time.
Weaver got his hands on 15 tickets for family and estimated several hundred friends made the 60-mile drive northeast to Milwaukee. He also visited his grandmother and acknowledged that she sometimes mistakes him for Jeff Green when watching the Thunder on TV.
On Saturday night, there was no mistaking him for Green, who had an even quieter game with seven points, and plenty of his friends and family waited after the game to chat.
"Hopefully, I don't miss the bus," he said.
OKLAHOMA CITY 98
MILWAUKEE 115 FINAL
Apr 11 10:40 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 72
MILWAUKEE 93 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 11 10:15 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 51
MILWAUKEE 56 HALFTIME
Apr 11 9:34 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 24
MILWAUKEE 22 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 11 9:04 PM
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