Bucks nearly win in regulation, then fall to Rockets in overtime
It helped the Bucks frustrate the Houston Rockets in an entertaining Martin Luther King Day matinee at the Toyota Center.
But the final result was all too familiar for the Bucks, who lost a heartbreaking 101-98 overtime decision to finish their western trip with a 1-5 record.
Rookie point guard Brandon Jennings missed a potential game-winning three-pointer in the final seconds of regulation, and the Bucks quickly fell behind by seven points in the overtime period.
Milwaukee (16-23) fought back and had a chance to force a second overtime on a wide-open corner three by guard Luke Ridnour. But the shot bounced off the back rim, and the Rockets could be content in not playing another triple-overtime game, as they did in a victory over Minnesota last week.
“We drew it up perfectly and executed it perfect,” said Ridnour, who took a cross-court pass from Jennings. “It even felt good.
“I’ll take that shot 100 times, you know. It was just a little bit long.”
The Bucks limited the Rockets (23-18) to 33 points in the second half and just 12 in the fourth quarter, both season-low totals for Houston.
Skiles decided he needed to change defenses after Houston shot nearly 58 percent en route to a 58-51 halftime lead.
“We got in our matchup zone most of the second half on makes (by the Bucks), and the guys did a good job with it,” Skiles said. “They played hard in it and moved around well, had good activity.
“We only have a handful of guys that can play well in it, so we left those guys out there. They got us back in the game. We made five more field goals than them and got beat, so it’s kind of more of the same. We couldn’t get to the foul line.”
Houston sank 23 of 28 free throws to 7 of 11 for Milwaukee.
The Bucks lineup that played most of the second half featured Carlos Delfino, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Andrew Bogut, Jennings and Ridnour.
Luis Scola led the Rockets with 27 points and 15 rebounds, and Carl Landry scored the first five points in overtime as Houston went on its 7-0 run.
“Going into the overtime I knew (Bogut) had five fouls and I wanted to be as aggressive as I could,” Landry said. “I had a couple good looks.”
A jumper by Landry followed by his three-point play got the Rockets off to a good start in the overtime period. But the Bucks were able to trim the lead to 100-98 on Bogut’s tip-in of a Jennings miss with 33.8 seconds left.
Bogut fouled out with 9.2 seconds left and Rockets guard Aaron Brooks made 1 of 2 free throws, giving the Bucks a last chance, but Ridnour missed a shot he has been making all season.
“We didn’t lose the game because of Luke’s shot,” Bogut said. “We lost the game because early on they got too many looks. In the second quarter they killed us. If we keep it at least level at halftime, I think we win this game.”
The Bucks played their sixth overtime game of the season and dropped to 2-4 in those games.
Jennings finished with 25 points and seven assists, while Bogut contributed 18 points, 17 rebounds and six blocked shots while playing 45 minutes.
“I’m tired of saying we keep fighting,” Ridnour said. “We’ve got to turn it around and get some wins here.
“It’s been a tough road trip for us, but we still believe we can make a run at this thing. “
Skiles couldn’t see too many positives in the trip, the Bucks’ longest of the season.
“We were 1-5, and nobody wants to go 1-5 in a six-game span,” Skiles said. “We fell behind in too many games; that’s what happened.”