Washington at Milwaukee

Bucks take down Wizards for fourth consecutive time

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Bucks finally have something to play for in March.

Charlie Villanueva scored 25 points and Richard Jefferson added 22 to lift the Milwaukee Bucks to an easy 109-93 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.

With a month and a half left in the season, Milwaukee (29-33) surpassed its win total in each of the last two years and has the most victories since going 40-42 in 2005-06 and reaching the postseason.

"We're pulling it together and guys are picking it up," said Charlie Bell, who had 12 points and is one of the few players remaining from those older squads. "Right now, we feel like there's a lot of new players, new coaching staff, a whole new regime. We've put the other years behind us."

While the Bucks remain four games under .500, they control their playoff hopes this year by continuing to hold the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference with a one-game lead over New Jersey and Chicago -- despite missing key starters Michael Redd (knee) and Andrew Bogut (back).

"This will be one of the bigger stories in the league with all the injuries and all the trades, new faces, to weather that storm and to make it would be pretty amazing," said Jefferson, who came to Milwaukee from New Jersey in a draft day trade for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. "But it's not story-writing time right now."

Milwaukee never trailed against the Wizards, opened a double-digit lead in the opening minutes and was never seriously threatened to win its fourth straight over Washington.

Milwaukee also avoided losing three in a row for the first time since early December.

"I wouldn't say it was easy, but it was very convincing. It was a win we felt like we needed to have after losing two in a row against Dallas and New Orleans," Ramon Sessions said.

Sessions had 12 points and 10 assists, reserve Dan Gadzuric added 10 points and 11 rebounds and rookie Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored 13 points.

Washington never looked interested in defense, allowing Milwaukee to shoot 52 percent, including 11-for-19 from 3-point range.

After the Wizards cut the lead to 83-74 early in the fourth quarter, Luke Ridnour and Keith Bogans hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the Bucks to push it back to 15 and coast from there.

On Friday night, the Bucks trailed by 17 with four minutes left against the Hornets and rallied to take a lead only to lose by one when Tyson Chandler tipped in a missed shot in the closing seconds.

Washington would mount no such challenge despite getting 21 points and 14 rebounds from Antawn Jamison. Caron Butler scored 19 and Nick Young added 13 for the Wizards, who had an inspired 113-90 victory over Chicago on Friday night.

But without President Barack Obama in the crowd, the Wizards disappeared like they've done all season, languishing in the cellar of the Eastern Conference.

"You can't match that energy," Butler said. "That's the president of the United States."

Maybe they couldn't, but Mike James thought there was no excuse for their pitiful performance.

"It isn't about the energy of playing in front of the president. It was the energy that we played with last night period that helped us win that game," he said. "We had to at least come out tonight and play with a sense of urgency. We didn't."

But Washington has nothing but a high draft pick left to play for, while Milwaukee is trying to keep the Bulls, Nets, Knicks and Pacers out of the final playoff spot. The Bucks will get ample chances against those contenders with five of their final 20 games against them starting Tuesday night against New Jersey.

"Right now, it's the final stretch," Jefferson said. "We have 20 games to make our claim to be a playoff team."

Notes

  • Interim coach Ed Tapscott joked that he'd tell the Wizards in his pregame talk that the president thought so highly of their win over the Bulls that he was planning to watch them on TV.
  • U.S. Senator and Bucks owner Herb Kohl was in the crowd in his usual seat about five rows behind the scorer's table. "We're going to have to talk to Sen. Kohl about that. Tell the senator to get Obama here to Milwaukee," Bell joked.
  • Milwaukee has scored at least 100 points in eight straight home games.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Richard Jefferson makes his presence felt in the Bucks win by scoring 22 points against the Wizards.  (AP)
Richard Jefferson makes his presence felt in the Bucks win by scoring 22 points against the Wizards. (AP)

Scoreboard
Washington (14-45) 1723302393
Milwaukee (29-33) «30252826109
WAS:A. Jamison 21 Pts
WAS:A. Jamison 14 Reb
WAS:C. Butler 6 Ast
MIL:C. Villanueva 25 Pts
MIL:D. Gadzuric 11 Reb
MIL:R. Sessions 10 Ast
Players of the Game
MilwaukeeWashington

C. Villanueva

A. Jamison
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
253221142
Washington
A. Jamison, PF409-163-6142221
C. Butler, SF406-157-846319
D. McGuire, PF323-40-01436
M. James, PG302-52-23437
D. Songaila, PF164-51-11139
N. Young, SG243-86-720113
A. Blatche, SF222-64-41028
J. Dixon, SG201-40-01422
J. McGee, C144-70-04028
O. Pecherov, C20-10-00000
D. Stevenson, SGDid Not Play
E. Thomas, CDid Not Play
G. Arenas, PGDid Not Play
B. Haywood, CDid Not Play
J. Crittenton, PGDid Not Play
Totals 34-7123-2831212193
 47.9%82.1% 
Milwaukee
R. Jefferson, SF386-178-823122
L. Mbah a Moute, SF326-91-192213
R. Sessions, PG295-102-3210212
C. Villanueva, PF289-133-432525
F. Elson, C151-30-02112
C. Bell, SG335-80-033512
D. Gadzuric, C225-60-0110510
L. Ridnour, PG211-62-41825
M. Allen, PF101-30-02122
K. Bogans, SG92-30-02026
D. Jones, PG10-00-00000
M. Redd, SGDid Not Play
E. Gill, SGDid Not Play
A. Bogut, CDid Not Play
J. Alexander, SFDid Not Play
Totals 41-7816-20373027109
 52.6%80.0% 
Other Games
Orl 106 Final
Phi 100
NY 115 Final
Mia 120
OKC 99 Final
Mem 92
Hou 102 Final
Chi 105
Sac 89 Final
Utah 102
Char 100 Final
LAC 95