Bucks 113, Raptors 107
The Milwaukee Bucks could've folded again.
Andrew Bogut had just fouled out with 4:11 left, Chris Bosh was on his way to a career night for the Raptors and the Bucks were clinging to the slimmest of leads.
``It was gut check time,'' Milwaukee's Charlie Bell said. ``When (Bogut) went out of the game, it was time for other guys to step up. We could've easily laid down and said, 'Oh man, we lost because Andrew fouled out.'''
The Bucks went on a 7-0 run just after Bogut fouled out and Milwaukee held on to beat Toronto 113-107 on Wednesday night, overcoming Bosh's career-high 44 points.
``We learned a lot about ourselves,'' Bell said.
Bogut had 27 points and 12 rebounds before picking up his sixth foul on the offensive end when Jarrett Jack slipped in behind him and drew a foul.
Moments later, Bosh hit two free throws to cut it to 103-102 before Milwaukee pulled away by pulling in offensive rebounds.
``A lot of hustle. We needed that. We weren't shooting the ball that well from the perimeter,'' Bogut said. ``If we can get some cheap points, that'll help us win games.''
Milwaukee, losers of five of the last seven, is 3-9 in games decided by three points or less.
It appeared this one would be that close, too, but by the time Bosh scored his career-best 44th point on a dunk with 37 seconds left, the game was no longer in doubt.
``It's a little frustrating,'' said Bosh, who can opt out of his contract at the end of the season. ``You try as hard as you can, but you still come up short. It seems to be happening a lot this year, but I don't know what else to do. I'm just going to keep playing.''
Jose Calderon's 3-pointer gave Toronto an 87-86 lead early in the fourth, but newly acquired veteran forward Jerry Stackhouse answered with a 3 - the 900th of his career - and Milwaukee led 95-89 while Bosh missed two shots and was called for charging into Bogut.
Bosh's physical play got Bogut in trouble, too, and the 7-footer committed two fouls in a 38-second span to end his night. Instead of a rally by the Raptors, they fell to 3-5 when Bosh scores 40 or more.
``It's not about offense It's about defense. We scored enough points. One-hundred some odd points is enough points. It's about defense. You have to get stops,'' said Bosh, who also had 12 rebounds. ``A team that plays hard like they do, if you give them a second chance, you're probably not going to win.''
And the Bucks took advantage.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored on a tip-in, Ersan Ilyasova converted a three-point play and Bell deflected a loose ball off a Toronto player and scored on the ensuing inbound play to give Milwaukee a 110-102 lead with 51 seconds left.
``It was just a big win for us, especially off a tough road trip, going 1-5,'' Bell said. ``It just felt good to be home.''
That feeling won't last long. The two teams meet again on Friday night in Toronto after the Raptors squandered an 11-point first-half lead in this one and Bosh's big night.
Stackhouse, signed Monday, played 17 minutes and finished with three points, five rebounds and four assists. The 15-year veteran probably felt a little old, too, on the defensive end. He was guarding Raptors rookie DeMar DeRozan, who was 6 when Stackhouse made his NBA debut in 1995.
``I felt good. ... I'm just going to try to ease my way into it,'' Stackhouse said. ``It was a good start and a good win.''
NOTES: Former Raptor Carlos Delfino had 22 points, rookie Brandon Jennings had 16 and Bell 11 for the Bucks. Calderon scored 16 points, and Hedo Turkoglu added 13 for the Raptors. ... Stackhouse had been working out with North Gwinnett High in Suwanee, Ga., near his Atlanta-area home. ... Milwaukee assigned F Joe Alexander to Fort Wayne of the NBADL on Wednesday. Alexander, the eighth overall pick in 2008 who has spent the first half of the season with a right hamstring injury, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after Milwaukee declined to pick up the first option year on his rookie contract.