Bucks stopped by Utah 95-86
By COLIN FLY
AP Sports Writer
MILWAUKEE (AP) — It took Al Jefferson and the rest of the Jazz 24 hours to get over how badly they played in New Orleans. Good thing Utah never seems to repeat a poor performance.
Deron Williams scored 22 points and added 11 assists, leading the Jazz past the Milwaukee Bucks 95-86 and overcoming a double-digit deficit for the ninth time this season on Saturday night.
The Jazz (19-9) avoided losing consecutive games for the first time since starting 0-2 and shook off a season-low 71 points on Friday in New Orleans with a second-half surge after falling behind by 12 early to Milwaukee.
“I just don’t see we could play worse than that. There was no chance of playing worse than that, no chance of shooting worse than that,” Williams said. “We’re a resilient team. We took last night personal. It was an embarrassing loss and we had to put forth a better effort tonight.”
Jefferson had 18 points and nine rebounds, C.J. Miles scored 16 points and Paul Millsap had 15 for the Jazz, which had 10 of its 14 offensive rebounds in the second half.
“We were attacking the basket, got a couple of lucky bounces. We were just aggressive,” Jefferson said. “We don’t never panic, last night was just one of them nights where we never could get our heads back above water, but other than that, we really don’t panic.”
The effort against the Hornets was the type coach Jerry Sloan said would keep him up at night, but he’ll sleep soundly now continuing this four-game, 4,300-mile road trip that finishes with stops in Cleveland and Minnesota.
“We’ve had games like we did last night. It’s not the first time. The important thing as a group and as an organization, you hope that they come back and see the importance of the game,” Sloan said.
Andrew Bogut scored 19 points and had nine rebounds and John Salmons returned from back spasms to contribute 18 points, but the Bucks couldn’t hold on to the lead.
Brandon Jennings gave Milwaukee an 80-79 lead on a layup with 6:22 left, but Williams, who had been whistled for a technical foul on the bench earlier in the quarter, answered with a 3 for the fifth lead change of the fourth.
Williams said he didn’t deserve the technical.
“I asked him if he was a rookie. I thought he was. He took that personally, what can you do?” said Williams, who scored 15 of his 22 in the second half.
Salmons threw a bad pass that ended up in the hands of Francisco Elson, who flipped it to Andrei Kirilenko for a dunk. Bogut answered, but Kirilenko hit a long jumper, Millsap made a layup, Williams added two free throws and Jefferson tipped in a miss to make it 92-82 with 3:29 left. The Jazz scored 25 second-chance points, and didn’t wait for the fourth quarter to make a big run, using a 15-3 spurt early in the second half.
Millsap stole the ball from Jennings and missed a layup on the other end that Williams followed with a putback. Jefferson then hit a short jumper to give Utah a 52-48 lead.
On the other end, Bogut appeared to jam his right arm trying to dunk over Millsap, and was gripping his elbow and shaking out the same hand he injured in an ugly fall in April, but stayed in the game.
“It’s OK, a dead arm,” Bogut said. “Just felt funny, went numb. I came back. It just felt weird shooting without feeling.”
The Jazz took a 58-49 lead, but Milwaukee, playing its only home game in a two-week stretch, tied it before Raja Bell hit a 3-pointer to give Utah a 71-68 lead heading into the fourth.
The Bucks raced out to a double-digit lead to start the game and Drew Gooden hit consecutive jumpers midway through the second quarter to give the Bucks their biggest lead of the first half at 39-27.
Utah took its first lead with the first four points of the third quarter and went on to sweep the season series against the Bucks after also winning on Nov. 29 in Salt Lake City.
“Both games were pretty similar,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. “They had more assists, they had more steals, they had fewer turnovers, they shot the 3 better, got to the line more. An awful lot of that revolved around the offensive glass.”
NOTES: Bogut, the No. 1 overall pick in 2005, played in the 350th game of his career. … Sloan is two wins away from surpassing Pat Riley (1,210) for third on the career coaching list. … Milwaukee has made eight coaching changes since Sloan took over in Utah in 1988. … Jazz PF Mehmet Okur, in his second game back since rupturing his left Achilles’ tendon, went 1 for 5 for three points.
Updated December 18, 2010