EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- For one of the few times since
acquiring Gary Payton, the Milwaukee Bucks combined scoring and
The Bucks used a lightning quick 15-2 run to open the fourth
quarter and limited the New Jersey Nets to 12 points in the final
12 minutes in a 104-85 victory on Wednesday night.
"It's about time we started playing right,'' Payton said after
the Bucks snapped a four-game losing streak. "We played a little
bit of defensive zone that worked pretty good for us. We made good
shots. We've got to keep this up. We've got to put three or four
together like we played tonight.''
Rookie Marcus Haislip scored six of his 12 points in the
game-deciding run that gave Milwaukee a half-game lead over Michael
Jordan and the idle Washington Wizards in the race for the eighth
and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
"Every game we play is critical for us,'' said Toni Kukoc, who
ignited the game-winning spurt with a jumper. "If we were fighting
for fourth or fifth, you can say: `OK, we're in the playoffs.' When
you lose a game you can go down to the ninth or 10th spot. Every
win is a great win for us.''
Payton had 23 points and Sam Cassell 22 for the Bucks, who were
11-for-19 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line in
the fourth quarter.
Kenyon Martin had 28 points and 14 rebounds for the Nets, who
ran out of gas in the fourth quarter while playing their second
game in as many nights against a team that hadn't played since
"Same old story, 27 turnovers,'' coach Byron Scott said after
the Nets' season high for giveaways. "When we play like that and
we are just throwing the ball all over the place, it's difficult to
beat any team in this league, especially a good team.''
Jason Kidd added 17 points, nine assists and nine rebounds for
the Nets, who shot just 4-for-20 in their third straight dismal
fourth quarter. They had nine points in a win over Boston on
Tuesday and missed their final 12 shots in losing to Philadelphia
"Tonight we just couldn't get the ball to go in for us and we
couldn't get a stop in the fourth quarter,'' Kidd said. "It was
73-73 and it could have gone either way, unfortunately, it went
Milwaukee, which had yielded an average of 105.7 points in the
13 games since Payton arrived, won the game in the opening 4:41 of
the fourth quarter.
Kukoc, who gave the Bucks a presence inside, gave Milwaukee the
lead for good at 75-73 with a jumper from near the top of the key.
Haislip hit a jumper after Lucious Harris missed on the other end,
and Redd scored on a breakaway layup after Richard Jefferson was
Jefferson scored on a follow to cut the Bucks' lead to 79-75
with 9:02 left, but Haislip hit two free throws and a dunk before
Cassell nailed a 3-pointer for an 86-75 lead. Tim Thomas' two free
throws pushed the lead to 88-75.
New Jersey never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way
in losing for the fourth time in its last six home games. The Nets
won 25 of their first 28 at home.
There were 16 lead changes and 13 times in the first three
quarters, which ended tied at 73. Payton hit a drive with 3.5
seconds to go to put the Bucks up 73-71, but Kidd beat everyone
downcourt for a layup that tied the game.
Bucks center Ervin Johnson got a technical foul for what
seemed to be a phantom elbow. ...Kidd landed at the feet of New
York Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey after being knocked down on a
3-point attempt. ...New Jersey held a 51-37 edge in rebounding.
...Milwaukee scored 32 points off the Nets' turnovers. Milwaukee
only had 10 turnovers.