Sat. Final: Bucks 121, Pacers 103
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Some sage advice from his former coach, Arizona's Lute Olson, rang in Richard Jefferson's ears after the Milwaukee Bucks blew a 21-point third-quarter lead against the Indiana Pacers Saturday night.
The Bucks bounced back to score the game's final 19 points and win 121-103.
"A wise man once told me, 'You can do that against bad teams, but you can't do it against good teams,"' Jefferson said. "You don't ever prepare to beat bad teams. You try to beat good teams."
And the Pacers -- at 7-16, losers of six straight and eight of nine -- are more the former.
"We were on the border of being embarrassed, playing against a team like that, short-handed," Jefferson said. "You know they're going to make a run, but that's unacceptable. Even though coach came in here saying, 'Good job, guys,' I know right now he's in there (ticked) off a little bit at us, the way we played in that third quarter."
Michael Redd scored 27 points and Andrew Bogut had 20 points and 20 rebounds to lead Milwaukee. Charlie Villanueva added 26 points, 24 in the first half, to equal a season high and help the Bucks snap a three-game losing streak. Jefferson had 20 points, 10 in the fourth quarter.
T.J. Ford had a season-high 27 points for Indiana.
Milwaukee led much of the game and by 21 at 70-49 early in the third quarter before letting the lead slip away. Indiana went on a 50-27 run spanning the third and fourth quarters.
The Pacers tied it at 95 on Jeff Foster's tip-in with 6:55 remaining and took their first lead since the first quarter on Ford's two free throws with 5:33 left. Ford's jumper gave Indiana a 103-102 lead with less than five minutes to go before the Bucks closed with the 19-0 flurry.
Jefferson had seven points during the run, as the Pacers missed their final six shots, including four 3-pointers.
"We were determined not to lose this game," Redd said. "We knew they were going to make a run. We had a lot of confidence knowing we were going to still win the game, though."
The Bucks led 64-46 at halftime, equaling a season high for points in a half. But Indiana outscored the Bucks 37-22 in the third quarter and cut the lead to three, 86-83, on Foster's 27-footer at the buzzer. Milwaukee went 5:23 without a field goal and 4:17 without a point during the run.
"They were in a groove," Bogut said. "They kind of play like the Phoenix Suns. They like to get the ball up and shoot a lot of 3s. We knew they could come back very, very quickly, and that is what they did."
They just couldn't sustain it.
"It's tough to have a half like we did and climb all the way back, especially on back-to-back games like we did," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "We just didn't have enough down the stretch."
Foster had 14 points for Indiana, which turned the ball over 19 times.
"Our defense needs a lot of work," Foster said. "Guys got to take more pride in it. When that happens, we will be competitive again."
Rookie Brandon Rush, the 13th pick in the draft out of Kansas, had 16 off the bench for the Pacers. Danny Granger, coming off a career-high 42 points in a loss to the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, added 14.
Bogut was the victim of two flagrant fouls. In the second quarter, Rasho Nesterovic smacked him in the face while he was attempting a layup and sent him to the floor. In the third, Foster shoved Bogut as he was going for a layup.
"Call him Barbara Walters tonight. 20/20," Redd said.
"He was very good, and I didn't run any more plays for him," coach Scott Skiles said. "He was just active like 7-footers should be."
O'Brien picked up a technical foul in the third quarter for arguing an offensive foul called on Ford. "Why don't you give Skiles a whistle?" he shouted.
Roy Hibbert, the 7-foot-2 rookie out of Georgetown and the 17th pick in the draft, started his first game of the season, replacing Nesterovic in the lineup. He finished with eight points.
Notes: Reserve Bucks guard Charlie Bell returned after missing six games with right ankle soreness. ... Granger's 42 points against the Pistons on Friday were the most points for a Pacer since Jermaine O'Neal scored 55 against the Bucks on Jan. 4, 2005. ... The Bucks are in the middle of a stretch where they will play six of seven games on the road, which will give them 18 road games out of their first 28 this season.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)