MILWAUKEE -- All season long, the Utah Jazz have made a bad habit out of losing to teams they shouldn't on the road. And it might have happened again Wednesday night if it wasn't for Carlos Boozer.
Boozer hit the go-ahead layup with 46.7 seconds left and the Jazz narrowly avoided their second straight surprising road loss by holding on to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110.
The Jazz have been nearly untouchable at home this season, keeping them near the top of the Western Conference. But Utah carried a 14-20 road record into Wednesday night -- including the latest installment in their road misadventures, a 12-point loss at Chicago on Tuesday.
"We have had that problem all season," guard Deron Williams said. "Sometimes we play down, and it's something we can't do. We've got to attack everybody like they're the best team in the league because right now we can't afford any more losses. You see how tough the West is. Teams aren't losing right now."
Williams scored 26 and had 13 assists for his ninth straight double-double and 41st overall. Ronnie Brewer tied a career high with 21 points and Boozer added 20 points and 11 rebounds for his 43rd double-double.
Charlie Villanueva and Michael Redd scored 26 points each to lead the Bucks.
Utah coach Jerry Sloan said games like Wednesday's will toughen his team up for the playoffs.
"The games have been tough," Sloan said. "The game in Chicago was a tough game. Physically, they got after us. These guys got after us here really hard. That's a learning process to be able to win those games -- not try to win them in the first quarter, but win them as you're coming down the stretch."
Utah certainly tried to put Milwaukee away early.
The Jazz came out seemingly determined to prevent another bad road loss, running out to a 40-26 lead at the end of the first quarter. Williams had had 10 points and six assists - throwing a pair of alley-oop dunks to Brewer, two of the six slam dunks the Jazz had in the first quarter.
But the Bucks rallied to go into halftime down 1, then ran out to an 11-point lead with 5:06 left in the fourth quarter.
"They took the game over, really," Boozer said. "They had the momentum for a long time (in) the game. We came back and got stops the last four, minutes of the game and made big free throws as well."
Said Bucks guard Charlie Bell: "We've got to play like that the whole game."
From there, Utah got to the free throw line and got back into the game.
The Jazz went on a 12-2 run to cut Milwaukee's lead to 1, going 6-for-6 from the line during that stretch. Utah then retook the lead on Boozer's layup.
After a Milwaukee timeout, Redd had his shot blocked by Andrei Kirilenko and Brewer was fouled with 25.8 seconds left. He missed the first free throw and made the second -- one of only two missed free throws in the final five minutes for the Jazz -- giving the Bucks one last chance to tie or take the lead.
But Villanueva turned the ball over, and Mehmet Okur made two free throws to put the Jazz ahead 112-108. Redd hit a jumper with two seconds left to cut the lead to 112-110, but Williams hit a pair of free throws with 0.8 seconds left to seal the win.
Milwaukee has lost four straight and seven of its last eight.
"This is difficult to keep losing games like that," Bell said. "It's just frustrating right now."
The Bucks leaned heavily on Bell's strong outside shooting for their scoring burst in the fourth quarter. Bell scored 24 and set a season high with five 3-pointers, including two in a 12-0 run midway through the fourth quarter that allowed Milwaukee to take a 99-89 lead.
Still, the end result wasn't much of a present on Bell's 29th birthday.
"He defended real well on the pick and roll and obviously hit some big shots for us," Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "It was nice on his birthday. I wish we could have gotten him the 'W."'
Milwaukee was playing without three key injured players - guard Mo Williams and forwards Yi Jianlian and Desmond Mason. But Sloan said teams with injuries often can get by on emotion.
"Teams get ready to play you, and the toughest game you have to play is when you have players sitting on the bench for the other team," Sloan said.
Yi missed his fifth straight game with a right wrist injury. Krystkowiak said Yi was feeling better but wasn't sure when he might return to the court. ... Williams (abdomen) and Mason (knee) are day-to-day. ... Okur had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Utah. Kirilenko scored 12, putting all five Utah starters in double figures.