- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 6, 2008

MILWAUKEE | There’s something about playing the Bucks in Milwaukee when they’re without leading scorer Michael Redd that the Washington Wizards can’t handle.

The last time Washington played at Bradley Center, Redd sat out with an injury, but his teammates rallied to defeat the Wizards in overtime in January.

On Wednesday night, Redd again was sidelined with an ankle injury, and the Bucks came up with numerous heroic performances to keep the Wizards winless on the season, dealing them a 112-104 overtime defeat.

Back in January, Mo Williams steered the Bucks with 25 points to spoil a 40-point effort from Racine, Wisc., native Caron Butler.

On Wednesday night, it was Richard Jefferson - acquired over the summer in a trade with New Jersey - who ignited his team early with 14 of its 30 first-quarter points and came on again late to finish with a game-high 32 points and nine assists. Point guard Luke Ridnour, who missed the last two games with back spasms, recorded 20 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. Reserve guard Ramon Sessions scored 22 points and added eight assists, and rookie Luc Mbah a Moute tallied 17 points and eight rebounds. The Bucks outscored Washington 14-6 in overtime.

Washington’s sloppy play also played a significant role. The Wizards committed 20 turnovers, which led to 35 Milwaukee points. They made 34 of 51 free throws, missed 16 of their 18 3-point attempts and made only two field goals in the final seven minutes of regulation.

“We didn’t play well. We missed free throws. We didn’t make plays down the stretch. We didn’t play NBA basketball,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “We just didn’t make plays, to put it very, very mildly.”

Butler led the Wizards with 27 points and seven rebounds, and Antawn Jamison added 19 points and 10 rebounds. Backup guards Nick Young and Juan Dixon scored 14 and 10 points, respectively. Meanwhile, the Wizards got weak efforts from their other starters: Antonio Daniels (three points), DeShawn Stevenson (six points) and Andray Blatche (five points), who started in place of the injured Etan Thomas.

After a slow start, the Wizards reeled off a 22-9 run to overtake the Bucks for a 40-39 lead - their first of the game - with 2:27 left in the first half.

As was the case in the Wizards’ second-quarter surge Saturday at Detroit, their reserves led the charge. Young, Dixon and rookie center JaVale McGee combined for 18 points during the run.

“There’s been a trend the last couple games,” Jordan said. “And maybe the trend is telling the coaching staff that the trend is the people that’s doing it and the way we’re playing. … We addressed [the problems] tonight in the locker room after the game. I’m going to put a careful eye on our personnel and what we’re doing out there. I think the trend is telling me something. I’m trying to be loyal to NBA vets, and I’m growing very impatient.”

The Bucks, meanwhile, went cold. After shooting 50 percent in the first quarter, they dipped to 22 percent in the second. The Wizards exploited the slump and shot 53.3 percent to lead 45-39 at the half.

Washington maintained its momentum in the third. The Wizards’ lead ballooned to 14 in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the quarter. Butler set the pace with 12 points in the period.

But the 78-66 lead the Wizards took into the fourth quarter wasn’t safe.

Trailing 87-74 with a little more than eight minutes remaining, Milwaukee embarked on a 22-10 run to tie the score at 96-96 when Sessions stripped Butler and coasted to the basket for an uncontested dunk with 1:16 left. The Bucks briefly took the lead when center Andrew Bogut slipped free of McGee for a dunk with 52 seconds left.

Jamison tied the score at 98-98, however, with a baseline drive to score over Mbah a Moute. And Mbah a Moute had the chance to sink the game-winner, but his shot over Jamison’s outstretched hands bounced off the rim as time expired in regulation.

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