Sat. Final: Bucks 106, Kings 104
By Todd Welter
Next game: Monday, January 26 vs. Minnesota
The Bucks got a 106-104 win over the Sacramento Kings but it came at a steep price.
The Bucks are looking at being without their top scorer, Michael Redd for the foreseeable future. Redd went up for a layup with 4:16 left in third quarter and came down on Luke Ridnour's foot. In the process, he twisted his left knee and was immediately in pain. He would leave the game with a left knee strain and did not return. Redd will have a MRI done Sunday morning to determine the severity of the injury and how long he will be out. The prognosis does not look good as Redd did leave the building on crutches.
"The key is to stay positive," Redd said about the injury. "I'm going to be okay. I've overcome so much adversity. I've had numerous injuries through out the years but I'll be back and our team will continue to keep fighting."
The injury could not have come at worst time for Milwaukee (22-25) as it is already playing short handed as Andrew Bogut (back spasms) missed his sixth straight game and reserve Charlie Bell (ankle) sat out his third straight game.
"That's not good news," Charlie Villanueva admitted after being told about Redd's injury. "We'll try to get him back healthy as soon as we can. Mike is a big part of the team and what we're doing. Hopefully he gets well soon."
Bucks head coach Scott Skiles admitted Bogut's anticipated return might not come this Monday night when Minnesota comes to town. The injury bug has certainly played in a role in Milwaukee's struggles with staying consistent. At least the Bucks have not collapsed like in the past.
"Over half our games have been without two of our main players," Skiles said. "Our guys are hanging in there. It's not always pretty every night but we're hanging in there."
This win was not pretty on the defensive end but at least the Bucks got the stops when they needed them most. With the game tied at 104, Luke Ridnour made a key steal with 29 seconds left and Richard Jefferson drew a foul with 16 seconds left that sent him to the line to get the go ahead point. Jefferson finished with a team-high 20 points.
"It was going to be the first team that got two or three stops in a row," Jefferson felt. "The first team that did that was going to be the one that got the win. Fortunately we were that team."
The Kings (10-34) had a shot to win it but the Bucks defense came up with two more big stops. The first stop forced Brad Miller to miss the possible game winner with three seconds left. The second stop came at the buzzer when Miller missed a long jumper that could have tied the game. Kevin Martin led the Kings in the losing effort with 20 points.
"We had two good looks and we thought they were both in," Miller said. "That was a tough call for them to get the lead with 16 seconds left but it happens. We had our chances and we played well enough to win for sure."
Both teams put themselves in a position to win by shooting over 45%. The game saw 11 players reach double figures. It was a see-saw battle through out as the lead changed hands 20 times and got knotted up 11.
The Bucks made up for the loss of Bogut, Redd, and Bell on this night with some of the other reserves stepping up. Francisco Elson registered a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds. Luc Mbah a Moute came close to a double-double as he had 13 points and nine boards. Ramon Sessions added 14 points off the bench.
"When you get those kind of contributions, it helps you weather this injury storm," Jefferson said.
Jefferson would like to see the inconsistent storm pass through as the Bucks continue this trend of taking a step forward followed by a step back.
"We're still not playing as consistent as we'd like," Jefferson thought. "We're an inconsistent team right now, it's just the facts. We have to do something to change that. You can't lose to a Clipper team that lost 12 in a row then come home and blow out Dallas. Then go on the road and get blown out by Atlanta and then come home and beat Sacramento. It is almost like either be consistently bad or be consistently good. Normally when a team is playing inconsistent, players are playing inconsistent."