Bucks top Warriors in China Games
Andrew Bogut and Joe Alexander led a fourth-quarter rally today as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Golden State Warriors, 98-94, in the NBA China Games today in Guangzhou.
Bogut finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Bucks won for the first time in five exhibition games and recorded their opening victory under new coach Scott Skiles. Point guard Luke Ridnour added 16 points and 12 assists while playing 37 minutes, and Alexander finished with 11 points.
Richard Jefferson added 13 points and five rebounds, and rookie Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had 12 points and eight rebounds. Michael Redd sat out the game due to left knee soreness.
"We made a determination at halftime to play our regulars most of the second half," Skiles said. "We were able to keep our heads about us to get the win."
A jumper by Alexander gave the Bucks a 95-92 lead with 1 minute, 38 seconds remaining, and Bogut drew a charging foul on Warriors guard C.J. Watson with 21 seconds left. Ridnour, Mbah a Moute and Jefferson each went 1 for 2 at the foul line down the stretch to help secure the victory.
"It's definitely good," Bogut said. "You don't want to go 0-8 in the pre-season. We didn't want to go to overtime; guys didn't have any legs left."
Kelenna Azubuike led the Warriors with 24 points, and forward Corey Maggette added 16.
The two teams will meet again at the Olympic venue in Beijing on Saturday morning (10:30 p.m. Friday Milwaukee time). The Bucks headed for the airport directly after the game and were scheduled to arrive in Beijing around 3:30 a.m. Thursday (2:30 p.m. today Milwaukee time).
Skiles said he expected Redd would be able to play in Beijing in the second game of the trip. Forward Charlie Villanueva suffered a neck injury in the second half today and had to leave the game, but it was not thought to be anything serious.
Alexander, who had struggled in his first two exhibition games, contributed some key baskets in the Bucks' fourth-quarter run.
"He was able to get a couple good looks and knock them down," Skiles said. "He still doesn't know what we're trying to do yet.
"But I thought he turned down a couple other shots he could have taken."
Bogut took advantage of a matchup against a smaller defender and was able to pass out of double teams when Golden State tried to trap him.
"I still didn't play that well," Bogut said. "But it's always good to get in that rhythm."
Bogut scored an emphatic dunk during the Bucks' fourth-quarter surge, drawing a huge ovation from the sellout crowd of 13,000 at the Guangzhou Gymnasium.
"It was a good crowd," Bogut said. "They love basketball here, and they really appreciate the game."
Skiles admitted the pace of the Bucks' Far East trip has been "a little hectic."
But he said the team had a good practice in Guangzhou on Tuesday and would have another one in Beijing on Friday. The team will have the day off Thursday to tour the Great Wall of China.
"You don't want to go through the exhibition season constantly losing," Skiles said of the importance of the final result. "We were able to get in the win column."