MILWAUKEE (AP) — Bobcats coach Steve Clifford liked his team’s defense just as much as its offense.
Jannero Pargo scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter to help the Charlotte Bobcats erase a 21-point deficit and rally for an 83-76 preseason victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.
The Bobcats outscored the Bucks 33-9 in the fourth quarter, opening the period with a 20-2 run sparked by Pargo’s 10 points.
“That final group, obviously we scored 33, but we started defending,” Clifford said. “Even in the third quarter, our defense was a lot better. Then when those guys went in, they stayed with the defense. We got stops, we got rebounds and then we were able to get out and get some easy baskets.”
Ramon Sessions, a former Buck, added seven points during the surge.
“The two veteran guards, Ramon and Jannero, were really good,” Clifford said. “They’ve been around. They know how to get ready to play. They take good care of themselves and they love to play.”
Blowing a 21-point lead didn’t sit well with new Bucks head coach Larry Drew.
“We came out flat in the third, but we did pick it up,” he said. “We just didn’t respond to their run. That was the most disturbing part about it, in not responding and just seeing the body language when the team got on the run. We’re going to have to be better, much, much better.”
Caron Butler led the Bucks with 18 points, but was ejected with 12.7 seconds left. He scored 12 points during a 21-8 run bridging the second and third quarters to help the Bucks build their biggest lead, 58-37.
Butler was arguing with referee Steven Anderson about the foul called on John Henson who was fighting Bismack Biyombo for a rebound at the Bobcats’ basket.
“It was a physical game the whole game,” Henson said. “A bang-bang play like that, I was kind of surprised on the call. But, that’s the way the game goes.”
Biyombo grabbed 21 rebounds starting at center for Al Jefferson, who sprained his right ankle in the Bobcats’ 86-75 loss to the Miami Heat on Friday.
The Bucks (0-3) were without Ekpe Udoh, who is expected to be out four to six weeks after having surgery on his right knee Thursday.