Bucks grind out win
Redd scored 32 points and made two free throws late to help the Milwaukee Bucks hold off the Minnesota Timberwolves 95-92 Saturday night.
Redd, averaging 26.8 points in his previous four games against Minnesota, bounced back from his season-low seven point effort in the Bucks’ 104-82 loss at Boston on Friday night.
“We knew this game was important after losing last night to Boston and going on the road to Cleveland,” said Redd who had nine assists and six rebounds. “We knew this was a must win especially at home.
Redd was 7-for-12 on 3-pointers against Minnesota after missing all three attempts against the Celtics. The Bucks went a combined 4-for-19 (21.1 percent) from beyond the arc against Boston, but were 9-of-21 (42.9 percent) against Minnesota.
Yi Jianlian, the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, had a career high 22 points, including two free throws for Milwaukee’s final points and Mo Williams added 19 for Milwaukee which extended Minnesota’s losing streak to four games.
“He played well tonight,” Redd said of Yi. “He’s going to have his bumps, his highs and lows. He keeps working hard in practice and tonight the game blessed him. He played really well.”
Craig Smith scored 30 points and grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds and Al Jefferson had 23 points and 15 rebounds for the Timberwolves who have lost nine of the last 10 road games.
The Timberwolves (3-19) set the worst 22-game start in franchise history. They had tied the 1991-92 team for the worst 21-game start. That team beat the Los Angeles Lakers 93-85 its next game and finished the season at 15-67.
“We’ve got to keep playing, man,” Jefferson said. “Things are going to turn around for us, hopefully.”
Trailing 84-74, Jefferson scored five points and Ryan Gomes hit a 3 as Minnesota pulled to 84-82 with 1:41 to go. Yi answered with a 3-pointer that put the Bucks up by five. Smith made two free throws with 42.2 seconds left to make it 87-84.
“We came back and fought until the end,” Smith said. “My teammates were just looking for me and I felt I had to be aggressive.”
The play of the game came after a Bucks’ time-out following Smith’s free throws.
Bobby Simmons inbounded the ball to Williams who passed to Redd who drove, but then dished it back to Williams for a 3 and a six-point margin.
“That was a big time play,” Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “We’ve been talking about that, trusting your teammates. There was a lot of focus on him. He made a nice little draw and kick off that set pick and roll. Mo knocked it down. It was just what we needed.”
The Bucks improved to 8-2 at the Bradley Center and have beaten the Wolves four straight times at home since losing their previous eight against them in Milwaukee.
Rashad McCants, who had 15 points, hit a 3-pointer before Redd made two free throws with 9.6 seconds left. Yi made two pressure free throws after Jefferson’s driving layup. McCant’s hit his last 3 for the final points, 95-92.
Redd and Williams hit consecutive 3s to push Milwaukee’s lead to 80-68 with 4:38 left to play. McCants answered with two 3s for Minnesota, but Redd found Yi Jianlian cutting to the basket, fed him the ball, and Yi’s driving dunk made it 84-74 with 3:19 left.
Smith scored 14 of Minnesota’s 16 points, but Redd’s 12 points, including his 3 that erased the Timberwolves last lead at 44-42 lead, put the Bucks ahead 66-58 after three quarters.
“Even though they have the worst record, that’s an NBA team,” Redd said. “You gotta respect them. They’re not going to stop playing. They’re big men are a load down low. Give ’em credit for keep fighting back.”