Bucks top 76ers for 4th straight win
Carlos Delfino scored 23 points and Luke Ridnour had 18 to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 95-90 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
The Bucks are jostling for playoff position and moved ahead of Miami for fifth in the East. They've won four straight games and have remained in the hunt for the No. 5 seed since losing Bogut to various injuries on a hard fall last week.
"I think that for what we've been through in losing Andrew, it's important that we've been able to win two or three in a row," Ridnour said. "He is a huge part of our team and everyone else on the team has to do a little bit more for us to be successful."
The Bucks led wire-to-wire against the woeful Sixers and have held three straight teams to 90 or fewer points. Brandon Jennings had 16 points and seven assists.
Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 21 points. Philadelphia missed 11-of-20 attempts from the free throw line.
John Salmons, who has been a surprise star for the Bucks since his trade from Chicago, played only 24 minutes because of the flu.
"He just didn't look good in the face in the timeouts so I decided that was enough," coach Scott Skiles said.
He scoring touch would have been handy in the fourth quarter when the hapless Sixers started to make a run and nearly played spoiler in the playoff race.
The Sixers sliced the lead to under five several times, but couldn't sustain the big buckets long enough to ever take the lead.
Jrue Holiday, who was 0 for 8 in the first half, nailed a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left that cut it to 89-87.
Jennings did what the Sixers failed to do — make free throws. He calmly sank two in a tight game late in the fourth, much like the rookie might be asked to do in a decisive playoff game.
Iguodala, suddenly playing some of his best basketball of the season long after any of the games matter, hit his third 3 and there was still a glimmer of hope for lottery-bound Philadelphia.
It didn't last long. The Bucks clinched the win from the foul line and then it was off to the locker room to wait for word on the Detroit at Miami game. The Pistons pulled through with a 106-99 win.
Unlike the Sixers, Milwaukee thrived from the line, going 21 for 23.
"It got a little scary there at the end," Ridnour said.
Delfino made all four of his 3s in the first half and the Bucks finished with 10 overall — the sixth time in the last 15 games a team has hit at least 10 3s against the Sixers. Luc Mbah a Moute scored 13 points and had nine rebounds.
Skiles stumped for Jennings' candidacy for rookie of the year before the game. His criteria was simple: Jennings was having the best season of any rookie leading his team to the playoffs. This wasn't one of his stronger games — only 4 for 17 — but all those free throws down the stretch helped the Bucks hang on.
The Bucks rolled to a 13-point lead in the first half because the Sixers simply couldn't hit shots. Holiday missed all eight attempts, Willie Green was 0 for 3 and Elton Brand 1 for 5.
"I think we were a little lackadaisical coming out of the game and they jumped on us," Iguodala said. "You can see the guys want to be out there and compete and I think it's a good thing that we are still fighting."
NOTES: Milwaukee's Royal Ivey and Primoz Brezec started the season with the 76ers. They were part of a trade that sent Francisco Elson to Philadelphia. Elson made his season debut with the Sixers and scored two points. The Sixers also acquired Jodie Meeks in that Feb. 16 deal, and he scored 11 points in 22 minutes. ... The Sixers failed to hold a lead in a game for the third time this season.