EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—Richard Jefferson had 29 points and 10 rebounds against his former teammates and the Milwaukee Bucks snapped a season-high, five-game losing streak with a 107-78 victory over the reeling New Jersey Nets on Monday night.
Charlie Villanueva added 20 points for the Bucks, who kept their slim hopes for a playoff berth alive by snapping a seven-game road losing streak and sending the Nets to their fifth straight loss, matching their season high.
The win was only the fifth in 19 games for Milwaukee, which is four games behind Chicago in the race for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks (32-43) have seven games left.
Chris Douglas-Roberts had 14 points and Brook Lopez added 10 points and 10 rebounds for New Jersey, which suffered its second embarrassing loss in 24 hours. Minnesota snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating the Nets on Sunday.
That was only a nine-point loss. This one was a blowout, and it was never close after Milwaukee used an 18-0 run in the final 4:51 of the first quarter to 32-13 lead.
Jefferson, traded to Milwaukee after last season, started the run with a 3-pointer and added four free throws before it was over. Villanueva had a big slam and six points, and rookie Joe Alexander, who finished with a career-high 16 points, capped the spurt 3-pointer.
The rest of the game was garbage time, punctuated by boos by the sparse crowd when the Bucks pushed the lead into the 20s and 30s over the final three quarters.
The frustration got to Nets coach Lawrence Frank in the third quarter. He picked up technical foul for arguing a no-call on a layup attempt by Ryan Anderson.
The Nets futility was never more evident than early in the third quarter when Bucks center Dan Gadzuric stole the ball from Trenton Hassell under the Milwaukee basket, dribbled behind his back and dunked.
As Gadzuric ran down the court and chest bumped with Jefferson, Frank called a time out and the Nets walked off the court to more jeers.
The loss reduced the Nets’ magic number for being eliminated from playoff contention to three. The Nets have lost 17 of 23 games.
Bucks backup G Keith Bogans sprained his right ankle in the first half and did not return. … Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said C Andrew Bogut had tests on his back on Monday, but he didn’t know the results. The center has been sidelined since Feb. 3 with a stress fracture in his lower back. … Nets fans saved their biggest cheer for Giants tight end Kevin Boss. … Nets G Keyon Dooling was called for a flagrant foul against Alexander in the third quarter for a face rack on a layup attempt.