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Van Exel pours in 17 late points, Mavs win in OT

3/27/2002

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The short-handed Milwaukee Bucks were on a roll
until Raef LaFrenz rolled over Michael Redd's left knee.

And that sparked Dallas to a 112-106 victory over the Bucks in
overtime Tuesday night for the Mavericks' first victory ever at the
14-year-old Bradley Center.

Redd was on his way for a breakaway layup off a steal when
LaFrenz fouled him hard and toppled over him with 11 minutes left
in regulation.

Redd limped to the foul line and sank two shots for an 81-68
lead. But he couldn't take the pain and left the game two minutes
later.

So, Dallas coach Don Nelson put in a zone defense against the
Bucks, who already were playing without Sam Cassell (toe) and Ray
Allen (knee), and called some plays for Nick Van Exel, who scored
17 points from that point on, including the go-ahead basket in
overtime.

"I just thought if I don't get anything out of Nick, we're not
going to win the game," Nelson said. "So, I called his number and
made him do something and he finally became aggressive."

With their best shooters on the bench and Glenn Robinson mired
in a 7-for-22 night, the Bucks had nothing with which to counter.

"I think it was just the team that had the most shooters on the
court at the end -- that was us," Nelson said. "I think when Redd
went out, it really hurt their chances. We couldn't guard him. He's
a really good player. The Bucks are very, very fortunate to have
him."

Bucks coach George Karl concurred: "When Michael Redd went out,
there wasn't a lot of offense. They got the zone in there and we
were playing with two non-shooters on the court."

Van Exel scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, including a
3-pointer with 1:27 left that tied it at 95.

"These guys don't get upset if I miss shots. They get upset
when I'm not playing aggressive, when I'm not attacking," Van Exel
said. "That's when they get mad at me."

Van Exel's finger-roll gave the Mavericks their first lead of
the night at 99-98 with 3:20 left in overtime. They wouldn't trail
again.

Steve Nash's 3-pointer made it 102-98, and Dirk Nowitzki's 3
made it 105-100. Nowitzki also finished with 17 points despite a
painful elbow injury.

Dallas won for the first time in 13 games at the Bradley Center.
The Mavericks hadn't won in Milwaukee since 1987 at the old
Milwaukee Arena.

Tim Thomas, returning from a sprained right knee that had kept
him out of six games, led the Bucks with 22 points. Anthony Mason
had 20 and Robinson 18.

Redd is day-to-day with a sprained medial collateral ligament.
He promised to fight through the pain -- unlike Cassell (toe) and
Allen (knee), who dismissed Karl's suggestion they go ahead and
play despite their injuries because they won't fully recover until
the summer anyway.

"I'm going to come back as soon as I can," Redd said. "I'm
going to try to get this fixed as quickly as possible."

The Bucks led by 17 in the first half and took a 78-68 lead into
the fourth quarter.

When Redd went out, the Mavericks went on a 15-3 run capped by
Van Exel's spinning jumper and fast-break 3-pointer off an
ill-advised pass into the lane by Darvin Ham that pulled the
Mavericks within 84-83 with 6:07 left.

"This is a game we should have won," Redd said. "I think we
were up 10 when I left. I thought that was a big enough lead. But
you've got to give Dallas credit. I heard they put a zone on the
team in the fourth quarter that we couldn't figure out.

"A disappointing loss because we thought we dominated them the
whole game. Van Exel got hot in the fourth quarter. He had been
contained, Dirk had been contained and Nash had been contained much
of the game."

Mason again criticized the Bucks' coaching staff for going away
from what worked early on.

"We punished them early, we were penetrating early and then we
went to a shootout in the second half," Mason said. "We think we
have that ability and we don't. If you do something that works
against them, you don't go away from it, you keep doing it."

"I don't know why but we've got a habit when we're doing
something that works, we go away from it."

Game notes
The Bucks placed reserve center Greg Foster on the injured
list Tuesday with a cervical bulging disc and activated point guard
Rafer Alston. ... The Bucks are 18-3 all-time at home against the
Mavericks, who hadn't won in Milwaukee since Dec. 13, 1987. ...
Dallas' Wang Zhizhi sat out with a sprained ankle.