New Orleans at Milwaukee

Bucks 115, Hornets 95

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- Andrew Bogut had no idea when the last time the Bucks were .500 this late. He is quite sure this is the best the Bucks have played this season.

Bogut had 26 points and 13 rebounds to continue his string of dominant performances, leading Milwaukee to a 115-95 victory against the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.

"We've played pretty well in this stretch," said the Bucks center, who had his fourth consecutive double-double in Milwaukee's fourth victory in a row. "We've got to stay grounded, though. We're at .500, that's nothing to be proud about.

"We can't get cocky because obviously you guys are going to be talking about playoffs and the fans are going to start getting more and more vocal."

At least it's something to cheer about.

The former No. 1 overall pick was a rookie the last time the Bucks (28-28) were in contention late in the season. Milwaukee finished 40-42 in 2005-06 and finished eighth. Bogut says the Bucks blew a better seed by losing focus.

"We've laid eggs before in similar situations," he said.

Now, Milwaukee is tied for seventh in the Eastern Conference and back at .500 for the first time since Dec. 12 thanks to a 10-3 stretch.

Even stern coach Scott Skiles is upbeat.

"We're a fun team to watch when we play like that," Skiles said. "We fought our way back to get to .500. In order to get over .500, at some point you have to get to .500. That's silly, but it's true. Now we've gotten there."

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and John Salmons added 18 points for the Bucks. Salmons has reached double figures in all four games since being traded at the deadline from Chicago and in his last eight overall.

"Getting traded in the middle of the season is crazy," said Salmons, who still hasn't practiced with the Bucks yet and says he knows only one play from the playbook. "We're not just trying to make the playoffs, we're trying to move up in the standings. We've got the opportunity to do that."

New Orleans' rookies led the way again. Marcus Thornton had 25 points, and Darren Collison added 22, but the Hornets (30-28) slipped three games behind eighth-place Portland in the Western Conference.

The Bucks outscored the Hornets 72-38 in the paint to snap New Orleans' eight-game winning streak in this series.

In the second half, Milwaukee turned up the defensive pressure, pulling away to start the third quarter and holding the Hornets to 5-of-19 shooting from the field in the quarter.

"We just didn't have enough fight, which is inexcusable for a team like this," Collison said. "Mentally, we weren't in it on the defensive end. They were executing really well. I give them credit. They ran their plays to perfection."

An unexpected lake-effect snowstorm made it difficult for the Bucks before the game and several players said it took two hours or more to make it to the Bradley Center. It took Skiles 90 minutes to travel 13 miles, but his Bucks kept scoring easy buckets and showing little rust from their travel woes.

Bogut scored 12 points in the first quarter, then 10 more in the third as Milwaukee led 89-72 entering the fourth. Bogut sat the rest of the way, six points shy of his career scoring mark.

"He went straight to the basket early," Thornton said. "That was the trend the whole game."

Notes

Milwaukee scored 76 points in the paint on Dec. 26, 2006 in a victory against San Antonio. ... Hornets F David West had 19 points and nine rebounds. ... Hornets G Morris Peterson strained his left hamstring less than five minutes into the game and did not return. ... Bogut had a stretch of six consecutive double-doubles from Jan. 11-20, but the Bucks went 2-4 in that span. ... Bucks C Primoz Brezec made his debut after being acquired in a deadline trade with Philadelphia.

Copyright 2015 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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Scoreboard
New Orleans (30-28) 2827172395
Milwaukee (28-28) «31302826115
NO:M. Thornton 25 Pts
NO:D. West 9 Reb
NO:D. Collison 9 Ast
MIL:A. Bogut 26 Pts
MIL:A. Bogut 13 Reb
MIL:L. Ridnour 6 Ast
Players of the Game
MilwaukeeNew Orleans

A. Bogut

D. Collison
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
261312239

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New Orleans
D. Collison, PG427-168-939022
D. West, PF358-163-492419
P. Stojakovic, SF304-81-211011
E. Okafor, C233-52-27048
M. Peterson, SG40-20-00010
M. Thornton, SG418-216-651125
J. Posey, SF271-60-07222
J. Wright, SF252-50-04214
A. Gray, C81-20-03032
S. Marks, PF51-10-10012
D. Songaila, PFDid Not Play
I. Diogu, PFDid Not Play
C. Paul, PGDid Not Play
Totals 35-8220-2439171795
 42.7%83.3% 
Milwaukee
C. Delfino, SG364-80-03429
J. Salmons, SF335-118-822218
A. Bogut, C3013-200-0131226
B. Jennings, PG254-110-22429
L. Mbah a Moute, SF244-72-3100310
J. Stackhouse, SF254-73-344013
L. Ridnour, PG205-100-026110
E. Ilyasova, SF184-100-15219
K. Thomas, PF152-20-04224
C. Bell, SG83-40-02037
R. Ivey, PG30-20-00110
P. Brezec, C30-00-01010
D. Gadzuric, CDid Not Play
M. Redd, SGDid Not Play
Totals 48-9213-17482620115
 52.2%76.5% 
Other Games
Min 92 Final
Atl 98
Mem 99 Final
Wash 94
Port 101 Final
Tor 87
Ind 110 Final
Chi 120
Orl 110 Final
Hou 92
OKC 87 Final
SA 95
LAL 96 Final
Dal 101
Phi 95 Final
Pho 106
Char 93 Final
Utah 102
Det 91 Final
LAC 97