Bucks rally to beat Bobcats
Bell scored 27 points and Andrew Bogut added 25, including a short hook shot with 19 seconds left, to lead the Bucks to a 93-89 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday.
Bogut’s hoop capped Milwaukee’s comeback from an eight-point deficit with 3:51 remaining. Mo Williams scored 17 for the Bucks.
Bell didn’t engender much good will in Milwaukee before the start of the season. A restricted free agent, Bell signed a five-year, $18.5 million offer sheet with the Miami Heat in late September that was matched a few days later by the Bucks against the very public wishes of Bell, who said he had a fractured relationship with the organization and wasn’t sure if he wanted to re-sign and try to repair it.
As a result, Bell has been treated like a pariah in Milwaukee and has been heckled at times at the Bradley Center.
“It’s been difficult, as far as the summertime and everything, and not playing well at the beginning of the season,” Bell said. “I’m just trying to build some confidence on the road and go home and try to keep it going.”
Gerald Wallace scored 25 points for the Bobcats, who have lost three in a row and seven of nine. Jason Richardson added 21 points for Charlotte.
Milwaukee played without leading scorer Michael Redd, who missed his second consecutive game with a deep left thigh bruise. Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said the injury was day-to-day.
Bell, who went 0-for-6 as Redd’s replacement in a Friday night loss to Washington, shot 11-for-18 from the field against the Bobcats. He and Bogut combined to score 16 of Milwaukee’s final 18 points of the game. Bell scored his 27 points – two off his career high – in 28 minutes.
“Charlie’s been great,” Krystkowiak said. “I would ask people to lighten up on him a little bit at home, because if they are truly Bucks fans, they want us to win, and we’re going to need him at home, too.”
Charlotte built an 84-77 when Richardson posted up Williams for an easy score. But the Bobcats made only two more baskets in the final 4:48 and turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions in the final 1:34.
Charlotte turned the ball over 20 times, two nights after having 21 turnovers in a loss to New Jersey on Friday.
“The bottom line is, turnovers are getting again higher than we want them,” Bobcats coach Sam Vincent said.
A three-point play by Emeka Okafor gave the Bobcats an 87-79 lead before the Bucks came back. Bogut hit two short hook shots in the lane, added two free throws, and Bell had a driving layup to pull the Bucks back into an 87-all tie.
After a Charlotte turnover, the teams traded missed shots until Bogut again got position in the lane for an easy hook shot for an 89-87 lead.
“I think you’re only going to be as good as the interior presence guy, and Andrew is going to be a great player,” Krystkowiak said. “He’s getting better with his post moves.”
Bell and Williams each sandwiched two free throws around Raymond Felton’s basket for the final.
“We’ve been saying for so long that we’re close,” Wallace said. “That’s getting old. We’ve got to find a way to get over this hump. If you sit there and look at a hump long enough, it’s going to turn into a hill. Then it’s going to turn into a mountain.”
Milwaukee led the entire first half, by as many as 10 points, before Wallace’s 3-point shot with 1.2 seconds left gave the Bobcats a 47-46 lead at halftime.
A key 12-1 spurt in the third quarter helped the Bobcats build a nine-point lead before the Bucks began chipping away.
Notes: The Bucks will hit all four time zones in their next five games: at Philadelphia on Jan. 8 (Eastern), home to Miami on Jan. 9 (Central), at the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 11 (Pacific), and at Phoenix on Jan. 12 and Utah on Jan. 14 (Mountain). In addition to Redd, Milwaukee center Jake Voskuhl didn’t play due to injury. Charlotte’s Derek Anderson did not dress due to a right knee bruise. ... Wallace and Richardson scored 20 or more points each for the fifth game in a row, the first time in the franchise’s brief history that the same two teammates have gone for 20 or better in five consecutive games.