Bell, Williams combine to lift Bucks over Sixers
Losing their best player hasn’t hurt the Milwaukee Bucks. Of course, any improvement is a step forward for a last-place team.
Charlie Bell and Mo Williams each scored 21 points and the Bucks beat the struggling Philadelphia 76ers 87-83 on Tuesday night.
Milwaukee has won three of four since the calendar turned, including all three games away from home. Andrew Bogut had 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Charlie Villanueva added 15 points and a season-high 10 boards for the Bucks.
Despite not having leading scorer Michael Redd for the third straight game because of a deep left thigh bruise, the Bucks found a way to win their fourth consecutive road game.
“As unfortunate as Mike’s injury has been, it’s brought us closer together,” Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “We’re moving the ball well and playing well.”
Andre Iguodala scored 21 points and Samuel Dalembert had 16 points and 16 rebounds for the 76ers, who have lost four straight.
The Sixers lost three in a row to complete a season-high six-game road trip. Coming home didn’t help, though it probably felt like another road game.
An announced crowd of 10,045 was the third-lowest total at the Wachovia Center this season. It seemed as if only half of those who paid actually showed up. The others didn’t miss much in a matchup of teams well below .500.
Louis Williams’ layup got the 76ers within 76-73 with 5:25 left. After Willie Green missed a 3-pointer that would’ve tied it, Villanueva made a layup and Mo Williams hit a 3-pointer sandwiched around Dalembert’s basket to give the Bucks an 81-75 lead with 3:25 remaining.
Iguodala’s short turnaround cut it to 81-79 with just under a minute to go. But Bogut put in Villanueva’s miss to make it 83-79, and Milwaukee iced it at the foul line.
“Charlie made a heck of a play going to the rim,” Bogut said. “He could’ve settled for a jumper. I got up between and got the tip.”
Redd’s injury has allowed Bell a chance to regain his shooting touch. Bell has 48 points in the last two games after getting 16 in the previous four.
“I’m finally feeling comfortable my shot,” Bell said. “I’m getting my confidence back and starting to come around.”
The Sixers fell to 9-9 since Ed Stefanski replaced Billy King as president and general manager. They were 5-12 when King was dismissed after 10 seasons with the team.
“We were a stop or two away from winning the game,” Louis Williams said. “They made big shots.”
Philadelphia closed within 51-50 on a pair of free throws by Reggie Evans midway through the third quarter. Evans, a 42-percent shooter from the foul line, had missed 15 of his previous 18 free throws.
Andre Miller’s spinning layup then gave Philly its first lead, 52-51. A pair of free throws by Miller and one more by Evans extended it to 55-51, capping a 19-5 run that began at the start of the quarter.
But the Bucks scored nine straight, including Bell’s 3-pointer that put them ahead 60-55.
The teams traded runs early on. Milwaukee quickly jumped out to a 12-2 lead, but the Sixers answered with a 14-4 spurt to tie it at 16. The Bucks then outscored Philadelphia 10-1 to take a 26-17 lead after one quarter, and increased it to 46-36 at halftime.