Nets capture second straight thriller with Bucks

Andrew Wagner, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- No overtime was necessary this time, but the Nets and Bucks again went down to the wire.
Brooklyn, which beat Milwaukee the night before on 3-pointers by Joe Johnson at the end of regulation and overtime, survived a late surge in the final minute to hold off Milwaukee 97-94 Wednesday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
After Brooklyn took the lead on a Keith Bogans 3-pointer with 5:41 to play, Milwaukee rallied back and got within two on Brandon Jennings' layup with 33 seconds left. C.J. Watson made it a four-point game with 15.5 seconds on the clock and, after another Jennings layup, Deron Williams made one of two free throws put the Nets ahead 97-94 with 4.1 seconds left.
Milwaukee had one last chance at forcing overtime for the second straight night. Monta Ellis was fouled by Williams on an unsuccessful 3-point attempt with 2.4 seconds to go, but Ellis missed all three and Brooklyn clinched its fourth straight victory and second in a row over the Bucks, who had won the teams' previous 13 meetings.
"It was good to get these two back after we dropped the first two to them," Williams said. "These are good solid wins against a good basketball team."
Williams led Brooklyn (33-22) with 23 rebounds and eight assists and Watson scored 17, making 3 of 4 3-pointers with six assists and three steals. Andray Blatche finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets.
"We were hanging on by our fingernails in the first half and the bench came in and gave us a great left," Nets interim coach P.J. Carlisimo said. "All those guys gave us good minutes."
The loss spoiled what had been a strong performance by Brandon Jennings. The Bucks point guard hit his first eight shots and finished with 31 points and 11 assists. Ellis scored 14 points and Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders each added 12, pulling down 12 and 13 rebounds, respectively.
Milwaukee didn't help its cause with a 18-for-31 effort at the free throw line, capped off my Ellis' late misses.
"I've been playing basketball my whole life," Ellis said. "It's just something that happened. Some go in, some don't. You move on."
Jennings went 7 of 7 from the field in the first half and added seven assists as Milwaukee went ahead 54-42 at the break. The Bucks were strong in all aspects, winning the post battle 26-10 and holding a 19-4 advantage on the fast break while shooting 61.8 percent from the field during the half.
But after a good start to the third quarter, Milwaukee fell flat late in the period. After Epke Udoh's jumper with 1:40 left in the period, Milwaukee made just two of its next 17 shots, allowing the Nets to get back in the game with an 11-0 run to open the fourth and taking the lead on Bogans' 3.
"In both games, we had chances to win but they made plays when they needed to down the stretch," Milwaukee head coach Jim Boylan said. "We got caught flat-footed a couple of times and they took advantage of it."
Milwaukee (26-27) has lost eight of its last 10 but remains 3.5 games ahead of Philadelphia for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
NOTES: The consecutive victories over Milwaukee are the Nets' first since the 2008-09 season ... Milwaukee's Sanders was back in the lineup for the second consecutive night after missing the previous four games with a bruised back. Four of his five blocks came in the first quarter and he now has at least one in each of his last 35 games ... Watson has scored in double digits 10 times this season; the Nets are 7-0 when he scores at least 11 points ... The teams finished the season series tied 2-2.

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