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West leads unbeaten Hornets over Bucks
Question of the Day
MILWAUKEE (AP) - The New Orleans Hornets are rolling. The Milwaukee Bucks are sputtering _ and growing increasingly frustrated.
David West made 10-of-12 shots and scored a season-high 25 points, and New Orleans remained unbeaten with an 87-81 victory over Milwaukee on Saturday night.
Chris Paul and Marco Belinelli each added 14 for the Hornets, who at 6-0 are off to their best start in franchise history. They entered play under rookie coach Monty Williams as one of only three undefeated teams in the NBA after beating the Miami Heat on Friday.
“I just wanted to be a presence,” West said. “I knew we may be a step slow because we had a tough game last night, but we responded. Guys made big plays down the stretch.”
Andrew Bogut had 19 points and 14 rebounds in his return to the lineup for Milwaukee after missing Friday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers with a migraine. John Salmons added 14 points for the Bucks, who dropped to 2-5.
Brandon Jennings, who had 12 points for Milwaukee, said he can’t pinpoint the cause of the early problems and used a couple of expletives in summing up his team’s play to date.
While Milwaukee looked sluggish for most of the first three quarters, there was no letdown for the Hornets after their 96-93 victory over the Heat on Friday.
They led 41-35 at halftime despite 13 first-half turnovers after Belinelli sank a 64-foot, three-quarter court shot at the halftime buzzer.
West scored 10 points in the third quarter, and the Hornets led by as many as 13 points in the period. They led 65-54 after three, but Milwaukee used an 11-2 run to cut it to 67-65 on Jennings‘ 3-pointer.
Milwaukee hung tight but got no closer the rest of the way.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute’s follow shot made it 84-81 with 1:48 left, but he missed a free throw, and Drew Gooden then missed two free throws with 1:09 remaining that would have made it a one-point game.
The Bucks again had a chance to cut into the lead on their next possession, but West picked off Salmons‘ errant pass with 42 seconds left, and Paul, who made three shots in the final 5:56, sealed it with a running baseline jumper with 21.5 seconds remaining.
“We had a two-and-a-half hour flight to get up here, and we easily could have just chalked this one up,” West said. “At halftime, (coach) Monty (Williams) talked about just fighting the temptation of being tired, and we were able to come out and have a good third quarter, which I thought put them on their heels a little bit and made them fight uphill the rest of the game.”
Milwaukee made just 38.6 percent of its shots and 25 percent (4 of 16) of its 3-pointers.
“They missed a lot of shots, but we had 19 turnovers,” Williams said. “For us to overcome 19 turnovers, we had to defend.”
Said Paul: “The crazy thing is we’re still not where we need to be defensively. I think that says a lot about our team. Right now this team gets mad when other teams score.”
“It was just an ugly game for us,” he said. “It’s starting to get a little bit ridiculous now because every day it’s like it’s something _ shots not falling and we just all break down. Some people are probably not on the same page, or I don’t know what it is, but it’s getting a little bit annoying now.
“When things aren’t going right, it just seems like the energy level goes all the way down. We have got to find something before it gets too late and it gets a little ugly.”
Migraines have been a recurring problem for Bogut, who also missed a preseason game on Oct. 16 with one. He said it typically takes 48 hours to feel symptom-free and that he still had a minor headache and some light sensitivity before the game Saturday.
Notes: Bogut’s 14 rebounds gave him 3,059 for his career, moving him into 10th place in franchise history ahead of Ervin Johnson (3,050). … The Bucks will not play the Hornets again this season. It is the second-fastest the Bucks have closed out a season series. … Bucks coach Scott Skiles is now 9-20 all-time against the Hornets.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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