Michael Redd scored 27 points to help Milwaukee break its four-game losing streak with a 99-92 victory over the Bobcats on Monday.
“Our key weakness all along has been not being able to finish off games,” Redd said. “(Today) we did a good job of doing that, on the road, especially.”
The Bobcats have no idea yet how to make the necessary plays down the stretch. They have dropped five straight and 11 of their last 12 games, and had a late chance to win the bulk of those.
“We know we are going to be there in the end,” said Gerald Wallace, who had 13 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks for Charlotte. “We just don’t know how we’re going to finish. That’s something we are still figuring out.”
Emeka Okafor had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bobcats. Brevin Knight had 10 points and 10 assists despite being in foul trouble most of the game and Jason Kapono came off the bench to score 12 points, including a three-point play with 1:58 to go that cut Milwaukee’s lead to 91-87.
But Redd answered for Milwaukee with a 17-footer that seemed to knock the wind out of the Bobcats. However, they came out of a timeout and responded with a rare 3-pointer from Wallace and tough defense at the other end.
Wallace blocked Smith’s layup as the shot clock expired, but the Bobcats failed to convert when Redd stole the ball away from Knight, was fouled and made both free throws for a 95-90 lead with 1:01 to play.
Knight’s turnover was the first of three straight for Charlotte, which couldn’t come up with any more stops.
“That’s on me,” Knight said. “I told the guys at the end of the game to believe I can get us a win. I didn’t and I take this one.”
Both teams struggled from the floor (Milwaukee shot 40 percent, Charlotte shot 36 percent) and both had a tough time at the free throw line. They also combined for 32 turnovers.
“In terms of playing basketball, there were spurts,” Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. “But for the most part—good, pure basketball—it was nonexistent.”
The afternoon start drew a paltry crowd of 10,523 that was so quiet at times that the fans close to the court could hear entire conversations between players, coaches and officials.
Most of the talk was mundane, except for the few times Bickerstaff complained about the officiating.
“Martin Luther King Day, you got freedom on your mind, huh?” Bickerstaff asked official James Capers.
Capers ignored him, but Jim Clark often playfully responded, as he did when Bickerstaff complained that Clark never agrees with his arguments.
“I think I did once,” Clark said. “Back in 1970-something.”
Bucks forward Marcus Fizer did not dress because of a migraine headache. … Charlotte guard Jason Hart left in the first half with a sprained ankle. … The game reunited UCLA teammates Gadzuric and Kapono. … NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon sat courtside next to Bobcats owner Bob Johnson. The two are neighbors in a Charlotte high-rise. … The Bobcats celebrated Martin Luther King Day by having Delano Rackard perform the “I Have a Dream” speech. Rackard has performed it across the state since 1977.