MILWAUKEE (AP) -- In the midst of the most trying season of his
NBA career, Ray Allen had the game of his life.
Allen scored a career-high 47 points thanks to a club-record 10
3-pointers, and the slumping Milwaukee Bucks took a step toward
earning a playoff berth by beating Charlotte 98-91 Sunday.
"Ray just put them on his shoulders and wouldn't let them
lose," Hornets coach Paul Silas said. "That's what great players
are supposed to do."
Allen's eight 3s after halftime tied an NBA record for
3-pointers in a half and his 47 points were the most by a Bucks
player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 50 against Portland on Jan.
And Allen basically did it on one leg.
He has been playing all season with knee tendinitis and an
atrophied quadriceps muscle in his left leg -- the result of
Philadelphia's Eric Snow banging into him in Game 7 of the Eastern
Conference finals last year.
"That's the confidence I think I needed, working through having
the injured knee, and the confidence my team needed," Allen said.
The Bucks, in danger of falling from Eastern Conference favorite
to the draft lottery in one of the biggest collapses in NBA
history, snapped a five-game losing skid and won for just the fifth
time in 20 games.
"Ray Allen was playing out of his mind," Hornets forward P.J.
Allen took turns schooling defenders David Wesley and Stacey
Augmon, neither of whom could keep up.
"There's nothing wrong with me," Wesley said when asked why he
played only 11 minutes in the second half. "When a guy is that
hot, you just have to do something else to try to cool him off.
Nobody could do that today."
The Bucks (40-40) are scrapping with Toronto and Indiana for the
final two playoff spots in the East. Milwaukee owns tiebreakers
over both the Raptors and Pacers.
Allen looked nothing like the player who's been bothered by a
bum left knee all season, costing him 13 games and robbing him of
his explosive first step -- until after the game, when he hobbled
around the locker room.
"I'm struggling right now, my knee's throbbing," Allen said
after logging 44 minutes.
Allen, whose previous best was 43 points, topped the franchise
mark of nine 3s, set two months ago by guard Michael Redd.
Coach George Karl didn't want to have to play Allen so much, but
he had no choice. He said he hopes to get him some rest Tuesday
night against Toronto.
"I think it's just going to be done with Band-Aids and guts,"
Karl said. "Guts and heart and attitude. I thought you saw a great
Allen made two 3s in a row after the Hornets had trimmed an
11-point deficit to 57-56 with six minutes left in the third quarter.
Allen swished another to give Milwaukee a 71-62 lead heading into
the fourth quarter.
His last 3-pointer came with 1:19 left and the Bucks clinging to
an 89-86 lead. Augmon fell, and Allen reacted by launching the shot
for a 92-86 lead.
"Actually, I stepped on Stacey's foot," Allen said. "He was
trying to play me so close. When I turned the corner, I stepped on
his foot and I just wanted to see what he was going to do and he
"I knew I had nine 3-pointers and I knew the way the game was
going they were going to force me to do something different,"
Allen said. "And the way I was shooting, I had to take another
shot, because I was feeling too good shooting 3s."
Allen's two free throws with 25 seconds left put the Bucks ahead
94-88. He added two more from the line with 16 seconds left to make
Robinson added 23 points for Milwaukee. Jamal Mashburn led the
Hornets with 28 points.
The Bucks need a combination of two wins by them or losses by
the Pacers to clinch a playoff spot, and Karl said his team is
confident it will beat Toronto and Detroit this week for its first
three-game winning streak since Feb. 20-24.
"This is like the NCAAs for us," Robinson said. "You win, you
stay. You lose, you go home. We aren't finished yet."
Thanks to Allen.
The Bucks, who led 45-39 at halftime, won for just the
second time in 12 nationally televised games. ... Charlotte lost
for just the second time in its last nine games at the Bradley
Center. ... Karl said he hopes Redd (knee) can return to action
Tuesday but acknowledged that's probably wishful thinking.