Sat. Final: Trail Blazers 96, Bucks 84
By Todd Welter
Next game: Wednesday at Toronto
Bucks Shots at 5:40 p.m. on 620WTMJ.
Brandon Roy cut through the lane, took an accidental smack to the face on his way to the hole but still made the layup to slam the door on the Milwaukee Bucks' comeback attempt. On his way down court, he threw up his arms wondering where the foul call was. He did not get the call but he did lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 96-84 victory over the Bucks at the Bradley Center.
Roy finished with a game-high 30 points along with seven assists. He got some help from Steve Blake who finished with 21 points. Blake did the majority of his damage in the second half with 18 points along with five three-pointers.
"When you're missing shots, you can either put your head down or keep playing hard, so I did that," Blake said about his 1-for-7 first-half shooting performance. "Brandon [Roy] was able to create and I shot the ball with confidence."
Milwaukee (31-40) can blame going 2-4 on its six-game homestand thanks to a third straight game of poor shooting. The Bucks shot 39.5% from the field and went just 5-of-14 from beyond the arc. Charlie Villanueva finished with a team-high 26 points for Milwaukee.
The Bucks started off the game looking like they could not miss as they led throughout the entire first half. The shooting did decline over the half as Milwaukee went into the break with 43-39 lead.
Milwaukee's pesky problem of coming out of the locker room with no energy reared its ugly head yet again and that gave Portland the opening it needed. The Trail Blazers went on a 23-8 third quarter run to go ahead by 11 with 2:55 left in the quarter. Blake torched his former team for 12 points during that stretch. The Blazers ended up with a 69-60 lead heading into the final quarter.
"They kind of took the momentum going into the second half and it just carried over," Richard Jefferson said who finished with 16 points. "We just didn't come out and play the way we needed to."
Bucks head coach Scott Skiles was a little bit harsher in his description of the third quarter.
"We were just very casual, very careless. Given a choice whether to relax or come out with energy, there have been games we have chosen to relax a little bit. It is very difficult then once the momentum starts going to get it back."
The Bucks did cut the lead down to five to start the fourth quarter. That momentum was killed when Keith Bogans was called for a technical foul as the Blazers took off from that point to go on a 13-5 run that gave Portland an 82-69 lead with 7:43 left.
The Bucks would not go down that easy as Milwaukee mounted a 10-2 run to get within five with 4:16 left. Milwaukee could not get any closer than that as Blake buried a three with 2:46 left that put Portland (44-26) up by 10.
The only morale victory the Bucks can take is that both Chicago and Charlotte lost so no ground was lost in the playoff race. Milwaukee is still a game back of the Bulls for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot at the end of the night. The reality of pulling off a playoff spot is not looking very likely right now as Milwaukee is 2-7 so far this month.
"When you start looking at less games to make up ground, all teams losing is actually a game for whoever is ahead," Jefferson explained.
If the Bucks want to gain ground back, it will have to be done on the road. Milwaukee kicks off a four-game road trip on Wednesday night against Toronto.