Bucks 107, Hornets 97
Led by Michael Redd’s 25 points and a gutsy performance by Joe Smith despite a bad back, the Bucks beat the Hornets 107-97 Saturday night, 24 hours after an ugly loss at Memphis left usually mild-mannered coach Terry Porter irate.
“Tonight we just came out with our pride on the line,” Smith said. “He kind of challenged us last night after the game and it was up to us to respond. Everybody left that locker room knowing how important it was to win tonight.”
Brian Skinner added 17 points for the Bucks, who never trailed and led by as many as 26 in improving to an Eastern Conference-best 20-5 at home.
Hornets coach Tim Floyd was furious by his team’s performance and kicked open the locker room door after letting his players know just how displeased he was after their fifth loss in six games.
He’ll have plenty more time to stew, too, because the Hornets’ next game isn’t until Wednesday night against New York.
“We need the time between games to work on things,” Floyd said. “Baron (Davis) needs time to let his ankle rest and get healed up. As a team, we need the time to get refocused on the basics. We have to get back to working on our fundamentals.”
That was basically Porter’s profanity-laced message in Memphis.
“This is the first time we’ve had a bump in the road this season, we lost three games in a row and we seemed to lose our confidence,” Porter said. “We need to believe that we can beat teams if we go out and play the right way.”
Redd scored 12 points in a 33-13 run that turned a 58-52 lead into a 91-65 mismatch.
“Our offense was nowhere to be found. Defensively, it just wasn’t there,” P.J. Brown said after the Hornets fell a half-game behind Milwaukee for fourth place in the East. “We’re kidding ourselves if we think we’re going to do anything postseason-wise playing like that on the defensive end.”
The game was humdrum until 2 1/2 -minute mark of the third quarter when Redd, selected to his first All-Star game earlier in the week, darted in from the right side, rebounding Damon Jones’ missed jumper from the corner and stuffed it in one fluid motion with his right hand to make it 71-59.
But the biggest ovation went to diminutive rookie T.J. Ford, who caught an alley-oop pass from Jones and dunked with 5:56 left. He was whistled for a technical foul for hanging on the rim, but with a 99-74 lead, it hardly mattered.
The game was so far out of hand that most of the starters for both teams watched the fourth quarter from the bench.
“We’ve got to address some issues,” Davis said. “These last 15 games we’ve been playing to our mental fatigue and playing to our physical fatigue.That’s why we’re in the situation we’re in.”
Jamaal Magloire scored 20 points for the Hornets who committed three 24-second violations. … Bucks backup F Marcus Haislip missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle. … Porter said the NBA told him Ford missed making the rookie team by a single vote from a panel that selected the participants. “It’s still mind-boggling,” said Porter, who called the leagueoffice for an explanation for the slight.