Walker-led Bobcats sprint past Bucks

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kemba Walker had 21 points, Josh McRoberts nearly had a triple-double and the Charlotte Bobcats handed the Milwaukee Bucks their ninth straight road loss 95-85 Saturday night.

The loss locks the Bucks into eighth place in the Eastern Conference, meaning they’ll draw the defending champion Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

The Bucks are hoping to have starters Larry Sanders and Brandon Jennings back by then. Both sat out against the Bobcats while nursing minor injuries and are listed as day to day.

McRoberts had 18 points, nine rebounds and a career-high nine assists.

Bismack Biyombo, the team’s improving second-year center, chipped in 13 points and 17 rebounds as the NBA-worst Bobcats dominated the Bucks 52-36 on the boards.

Mike Dunleavy had 19 points and Monta Ellis added 16 to lead the Bucks, who have lost 11 of their last 14 with two games left in the season.

Charlotte led by five at the break and pushed the lead to 17 entering the fourth quarter.

The Bucks got within six with 23 seconds left, but the lead was never really in danger. Gerald Henderson made a pair of free throws and Biyombo sealed the win with a rim-rattling dunk.

Charlotte entered the game having lost nine of its last 11 games, but led the entire first half as Walker scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

Charlotte dominated on the glass in the opening half, outrebounding the Bucks 27-15 before the break. Biyombo, who has stepped up his play in recent weeks, came up with eight early rebounds to set the tone for the Bobcats early on.

The Bobcats played through McRoberts on offense.

The big man, acquired in a trade from Orlando late in the season, dished out five assists in the first half. He has been a workhorse for the Bobcats recently, averaging more than 39 minutes per game over the past eight games.

Ellis, who had a career-high 17 assists Friday night at Atlanta, scored Milwaukee’s first eight points of the second half to help the Bucks make a run. But that was short-lived as Biyombo took over inside and scored eight of his points in the third quarter, most of those coming in the paint.

Despite the defeat, Milwaukee (37-43) is headed to the postseason for the first time in three years.

But they have plenty to get worked out before their first-round matchup with the defending champions.

NOTES: Jeff Adrien had four steals for the Bobcats and now has six over the past two games. He had just 12 the entire season before Friday night. … The Bucks’ nine-game road losing streak is their longest since Dec. 5-31, 2007. … J.J. Redick was 2 of 11 from 3-point range in the loss.