Final - OT
  for this game

Jefferson sparks Bucks over Wizards

Nov 6, 2008 - 4:49 AM By J.R. Radcliffe PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- On Tuesday, Wisconsin was among the states on the electoral map counted as a blue state.?? One day later, Milwaukee proved to the NBA representatives from the nation's capital that it was just fine without Redd.

With star scorer Michael Redd nursing a sprained ankle, the Milwaukee Bucks rallied from the effects of a nearly eight-minute drought in the middle of the game and defeated the Washington Wizards, 112-104, in overtime at the Bradley Center on Wednesday.

Richard Jefferson, who scored a season-best 32 points, deflected a ball into the hands of Luke Ridnour with 1:53 remaining, leading to a fast break that concluded with Jefferson's tomahawk slam to give the Bucks a 104-102 lead in the extra session. They would not trail again.

"I finally hit some shots," Jefferson said. "I hadn't had a dunk in four games. I can't remember a four-game stretch in which I didn't have a dunk.

"We had a great training camp, and this was my first training camp under Coach (Scott) Skiles. They're very intense practices. For me, my entire game is all about having my legs. I'm getting used to it, used to what he wants and my legs are starting to come back a little bit."

Rookie Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - whose potential game-winner at the end of regulation fell short - added an insurance bucket to give the Bucks a four-point lead.?? The second-round pick from UCLA then canned another basket as the shot clock expired with 37 seconds on the clock to give the Bucks a comfortable edge.

Mbah a Moute, who scored 26 points combined in his first four pro games, finished with a career-high 17.

"When I'm out there, I look at myself as a basketball player trying to make plays," said Mbah a Moute, who made the team largely because of his defensive abilities. "If you have an open shot, all my teammates always tell me in practice you have to take that shot, because if you don't, we put ourselves in a bad situation. I just try to put myself out there and help my team win by making plays."

The Bucks took their first lead since late in the second quarter when Mbah a Moute delivered a perfect bounce pass to Andrew Bogut, whose flush with 35 seconds left spotted the Bucks a 98-96 advantage.?? Antawn Jamison answered with a circus layup to force overtime.

Milwaukee closed out the final 2:13 of the fourth quarter with a 10-3 run, overcoming a deficit that ballooned to as large as 14 points with 10:21 remaining.

Milwaukee-area product Caron Butler led the Wizards with 27 points, and Jamison delivered 19 and 10 rebounds.

"It was very disappointing to lose a game like that when we had it in control," Butler said. "That's the NBA. Teams can come back at any point no matter how big the lead is. They showed a lot of will and just kept chipping away at it. We had some mental breakdowns, and they were able to get over the hump."

Jefferson exploded for 14 points in the first quarter, hitting 5-of-6 shots.?? The Bucks outrebounded the Wizards, 14-7, to take a 30-17 lead after the first session, but the Wizards' defense held Milwaukee to nine points and 22 percent shooting in the second quarter. Therein came the bulk of a 7:46 scoreless streak.

"We kind of appeared to be walking in sand out there," Skiles said. "We went small and started pushing the tempo a little bit, and found an edge. We could have easily folded up right there - it looked like we were teetering on the edge, for several possessions anyway."

The Wizards trailed by as many as 18 in the first period, but took a 40-39 lead on Nick Young's breakaway layup with 2:28 to play in the first half. ?? They led by six at halftime and maintained their edge thanks to a tremendous advantage at the free-throw line.

Washington took 17 free throws in the momentum-changing second quarter, compared to the Bucks' one.?? For the game, Washington made 34-of-51 from the charity stripe, while the Bucks went 17-of-26.

"Tonight, we could not play defense without fouling," Jefferson said. "We were a step slow on defense all night. I know coach is going to have a great time with film sessions, including myself. There were a lot of areas in which I need to improve on."

Included in that long scoreless streak was an empty 6:34 to close the first half, during which the Wizards scored 13 points to go from seven down to six up.?? By the time Jefferson scored early in the third quarter, the Wizards had gone on a 17-0 run.

"In the past three games, that's as bad as we've played for two quarters," Skiles said. "But we get to walk out of here feeling good."

Jefferson obliterated his previous high-scoring game of 20 points with his new organization.

"He always tries to move the ball to the open man," Skiles said. "Tonight, he knew we were missing 20-plus points from our lineup, and he was more aggressive and looking for scoring opportunities more, and he made some huge plays for us. I only sat him five minutes, but those five minutes were rough going for us."

Ramon Sessions, seeing an increase of playing time in Redd's absence, had 22 points and eight assists for the Bucks.?? Ridnour closed with 20 and 11.

"We didn't play well," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "We missed too many free throws and didn't make any plays down the stretch. We didn't play NBA basketball when we had to. I am going to put a careful eye on our personnel and what we are doing."