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Bogut leads Bucks

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Associated Press
February 25, 2010
— Andrew Bogut had no idea when the last time the Bucks were .500 this late. He is quite sure that this is the best the Bucks have played this season.

Bogut had 26 points and 13 rebounds to continue his string of dominant performances, leading Milwaukee to a 115-95 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.


“We’ve played pretty well in this stretch,” said the Bucks center, who had his fourth straight double-double in Milwaukee’s fourth straight win. “We’ve got to stay grounded, though. We’re at .500, that’s nothing to be proud about.


“We can’t get cocky because obviously you guys are going to be talking about playoffs and the fans are going to start getting more and more vocal.”


At least it’s something to cheer about.


The former No. 1 overall pick was a rookie the last time the Bucks (28-28) were in contention late in the season. Milwaukee finished 40-42 in 2005-06 and finished eighth. Bogut says the Bucks blew a better seed by losing focus.


“We’ve laid eggs before in similar situations,” he said.


Now, Milwaukee is tied for seventh in the Eastern Conference and back at .500 for the first time since Dec. 12 thanks to a 10-3 stretch.


Even stern coach Scott Skiles is upbeat.


“We’re a fun team to watch when we play like that,” Skiles said. “We fought our way back to get to .500. In order to get over .500, at some point you have to get to .500. That’s silly, but it’s true. Now we’ve gotten there.”


Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and John Salmons added 18 points for the Bucks. Salmons has reached double figures in all four games since being traded at the deadline from Chicago and in his last eight overall.


“Getting traded in the middle of the season is crazy,” said Salmons, who still hasn’t practiced with the Bucks yet and says he knows only one play from the playbook. “We’re not just trying to make the playoffs, we’re trying to move up in the standings. We’ve got the opportunity to do that.”


New Orleans’ rookies led the way again. Marcus Thornton had 25 points, and Darren Collison added 22, but the Hornets (30-28) slipped three games behind eighth-place Portland in the Western Conference.


The Bucks outscored the Hornets 72-38 in the paint to snap New Orleans’ eight-game winning streak in this series.



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