Distracted Bucks fall
Trevor Ariza hit a career-high six 3-pointers, scoring 22 points, and the Rockets hit 16 shots from beyond the arc to rout the Bucks 127-99 on Wednesday night.
“It will be nice when the deadline passes and we can settle in for the stretch run,” said Rockets forward Shane Battier, who was 6 of 6 from 3-point range and finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. “If they make a move, OK, these are our guys moving forward. There’s something comforting about that.”
Just before halftime, several reports said the Bucks had traded for John Salmons from the Chicago Bulls, a shooting guard who would be due a little over $5.8 million next season as part of a player option.
Officials with the Bucks would not immediately confirm a deal had been reached, and a team spokesman said no trade would be announced on Wednesday night.
“Nothing I can comment on right now,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said.
The Bucks returned to the court in the second half and shot just 33 percent. Bucks center Andrew Bogut, who finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, said all the talk has been a distraction.
“It’s no secret, we know which guys are rumored in trades,” Bogut said. “You don’t want (it) to distract the team but human nature says you’ve got guys that probably aren’t going to be here tomorrow or the day after.”
Rookie Brandon Jennings scored 13 points to lead the Bucks, but scored Milwaukee’s first nine points before going to the locker room with an uncontrollable cough. He returned a few minutes later without the same shooting touch.
“We definitely deserved to lose tonight,” Bogut said. “We struggled to score; we struggled to defend.”
While it appeared the Rockets might be the active team on the day before the 2 p.m. CST trading deadline with McGrady yet to be moved, Milwaukee was the one caught up in rumors.
The Bulls are seeking salary cap relief for next year’s free agent class while the Bucks have several expiring contracts available to deal. Bucks general manager John Hammond has said he’d make a trade to take on a longer contract if it made sense, and the Bucks have only four players currently under contract in 2011-12.
“It’s a business and you’ve got to be ready,” said Bucks forward Hakim Warrick, who didn’t play and has had his name come up.
several times in recent days. “You wonder no matter what whenever you come around this time of the (season). ... It’s tough, but no matter what, you’ve got to stay focused and be ready.”
NOTES: Houston has won 10 of the last 11 against Milwaukee. ... Warrick is one of Milwaukee’s expiring contracts along with Luke Ridnour, Kurt Thomas, Joe Alexander, Jerry Stackhouse and the injured Francisco Elson.