There have been many of both: The Milwaukee Bucks’ 97-91 victory over Washington on Monday night, thanks in part to Michael Redd’s 29 points, dropped the Wizards to 7-30 and was their 12th setback in a game they’ve led in the fourth quarter.
It is all wearing on Jamison, an All-Star forward and Wizards co-captain.
“We know it’s a problem, but it’s something that hasn’t been fixed yet,” Jamison said, his voice a low monotone. “Until we get it done, we’re going to continue to struggle and continue to be one of the worst teams in the league.”
Trading baskets down the stretch with Wizards guard Nick Young—who scored a career-high 30—and shaking off a tweaked right ankle, Redd helped Milwaukee overcome a deficit that was 13 points in the second quarter, 11 at halftime and five entering the final period.
Clearly, though, word is spreading about the no-lead-is-safe Wizards.
“We knew we could make a run at this team,” said Milwaukee forward Charlie Villanueva, who scored 16 points, “and that’s exactly what we did.”
After Young made a 16-foot fadeaway jumper to pull Washington within 90-89, Redd answered with a 3-pointer with less than 1 1/2 minutes left. Young missed a 3 as the shot-clock expired on Washington’s next possession, and that was that.
While the Bucks (19-21) notched coach Scott Skiles’ 300th NBA victory and collected their eighth road win of the season—already one more than in all of 2007-08—the Wizards absorbed a fifth consecutive loss, their fourth in a row against teams under .500.
This from a team that made the playoffs the previous four seasons. It doesn’t help, certainly, that All-Star point guard Gilbert Arenas and starting center Brendan Haywood have been out all season with injuries, and starting guard DeShawn Stevenson is currently sidelined by a bad back. Still, Jamison sounded downright despondent.
“We’re accustomed to a certain atmosphere in this organization, and right now this is not what we’re accustomed to, so this is the toughest it’s been for me. I hate losing,” said Jamison, who scored 25 points. “I don’t think anybody can take anything positive about what we’ve accomplished so far and where we’re at. So we’ve just got to do what a lot of teams have done—fight, plug away, make changes and go toward the future, I guess.”
He wouldn’t elaborate on what changes he would like to see.
After the Bucks fell behind 72-60 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter, they put together a 19-4 run into the fourth that allowed them to take the lead for good.
Making his first start since Jan. 2—he missed four games with back spasms, then was a reserve for a game—center Andrew Bogut came out strong, scoring eight of Milwaukee’s first 17 points. He also finished strong, scoring eight in the fourth quarter and ending up with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
“This was a game,” Bogut said, “we couldn’t afford to lose.”
Redd also scored eight in the fourth, while Young had 10 to top his previous career high of 28, set Friday in a loss at Chicago.
“We just worry so much in the fourth quarter. It’s in the back of our minds that every team comes back on us,” said Young, who got into a personal groove after recently watching tapes of when he starred in college at Southern Cal. “They start making a run, and you can see it on our faces.”
Indeed, Skiles felt his club played better in a loss to Minnesota on Saturday than in its victory Monday.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” Skiles said. “Like a lot of teams floating around .500, we’re looking for consistency.”
The Wizards, meanwhile, are looking to hold onto a lead.
“Don’t you get the feeling like we’ve seen this movie before?” Washington interim coach Ed Tapscott said. “We’re like a writer with writer’s block. We can get the first couple of chapters written fairly efficiently and fairly well, but getting to the ending—we just can’t seem to write the correct ending.”
Bucks G Charlie Bell sat out with a sore right ankle. … Wizards C Etan Thomas left in the first quarter with a strained left knee and did not return. … Wizards F Caron Butler scored only six points on 2-for-13 shooting. .. Tapscott on Jamison deciding to play with a strained right knee: “A day without Jamison would be a day without sunshine for me.”