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Bucks knock Nets from ranks of unbeaten

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee Bucks turned up their defense
against the New Jersey Nets.

Ray Allen scored 29 points, Toni Kukoc added 26 and Milwaukee
held the Nets to 39.5 percent field-goal shooting in a 99-93
victory Wednesday night.

The Bucks sent the defending Eastern Conference champions to
their first loss of the season.

"We had a phenomenal training camp playing defense, and now
it's time to translate that into the games,'' said Michael Redd,
who had two key 3-pointers as the Bucks pulled away in the fourth
quarter.

The Nets were trying to start 5-0 for the first time in
franchise history. They also opened 4-0 in 1997-98.

The Bucks shot 12-of-20 from 3-point range. Redd gave them an
80-71 lead with a 3-pointer early in the fourth, then Redd and Tim
Thomas hit 3s later in the period after consecutive Nets turnovers
to build the margin to 88-73 with 7:27 left.

The lead remained at least nine points until the final minute.

"When you are playing against a team that can shoot the ball
and you give them that much open space, the basket looks like an
ocean for them,'' Nets coach Byron Scott said. "You can't do that
on the road.''

Kukoc shot 5-of-7 on 3-pointers, and Allen was 3-of-7.

Redd had 13 points, Sam Cassell 12 and rookie Dan Gadzuric added
10 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks, who shot 49.3 percent from
the floor.

But coach George Karl was most impressed with the Bucks'
defense, which is limiting opponents to 40.1 percent shooting
through four games.

"The foundation I'm seeing is defensive, and that's what we
want to see,'' Karl said.

Jason Kidd led the Nets with 24 points, and Dikembe Mutombo
added 16. But Richard Jefferson, who was leading the team with a
17.3 scoring average, was 0-for-7 from the field and scored one
point.

"My teammates were very encouraging throughout the whole
thing,'' Jefferson said. "Jason and Lucious (Harris) were saying,
'Keep playing tough defense. You are going to have nights like this
where nothing is dropping.' I've been playing well and shooting
well the first four games and this game was just a big egg.''

Kukoc scored 18 points in the first half, shooting 4-of-6 on
3-pointers. Allen added 16 points as the Bucks took a 51-44 lead at
halftime. The Nets shot only 33.3 percent from the field in the
first half.

Game notes
The Nets were credited with assists on all 13 of their
first-half field goals. ... Milwaukee's Ervin Johnson blocked five
shots, all in the first half. ... The last time the Nets started
4-0, they finished 43-39 and made the playoffs. ... Thomas, who got
the starting small forward position in Milwaukee when All-Star
Glenn Robinson was traded to Atlanta in the offseason, scored five
points before fouling out. "He's going to grow into the role, and
he's going to be fine,'' Karl said.

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