<
>

Bucks improve to 20-5 at home

2/8/2004

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A locker-room tirade paid immediate dividends
for the Milwaukee Bucks. The New Orleans Hornets will have to wait
until Wednesday to see if their coach's blowup does them any good.

Led by Michael Redd's 25 points and a gutsy performance by Joe
Smith despite a bad back, the Bucks beat the Hornets 107-97
Saturday night, 24 hours after an ugly loss at Memphis left usually
mild-mannered coach Terry Porter irate.

"Tonight, we just came out with our pride on the line," Smith
said. "He kind of challenged us last night after the game and it
was up to us to respond. Everybody left that locker room knowing
how important it was to win tonight."

Brian Skinner added 17 points for the Bucks, who never trailed
and led by as many as 26 in improving to an Eastern Conference-best
20-5 at home.

Hornets coach Tim Floyd was furious by his team's performance
and kicked open the locker room door after letting his players know
just how displeased he was after their fifth loss in six games.

He'll have plenty more time to stew, too, because the Hornets'
next game isn't until Wednesday night against New York.

"We need the time between games to work on things," Floyd
said. "Baron (Davis) needs time to let his ankle rest and get
healed up. As a team, we need the time to get refocused on the
basics. We have to get back to working on our fundamentals."

That was basically Porter's profanity-laced message in Memphis.

"This is the first time we've had a bump in the road this
season, we lost three games in a row and we seemed to lose our
confidence," Porter said. "We need to believe that we can beat
teams if we go out and play the right way."

Redd scored 12 points in a 33-13 run that turned a 58-52 lead
into a 91-65 mismatch.

"Our offense was nowhere to be found. Defensively, it just
wasn't there," P.J. Brown said after the Hornets fell a half-game
behind Milwaukee for fourth place in the East. "We're kidding
ourselves if we think we're going to do anything postseason-wise
playing like that on the defensive end."

The game was humdrum until 2{-minute mark of the third quarter
when Redd, selected to his first All-Star game earlier in the week,
darted in from the right side, rebounding Damon Jones' missed
jumper from the corner and stuffed it in one fluid motion with his
right hand to make it 71-59.

But the biggest ovation went to diminutive rookie T.J. Ford, who
caught an alley-oop pass from Jones and dunked with 5:56 left. He
was whistled for a technical foul for hanging on the rim, but with
a 99-74 lead, it hardly mattered.

The game was so far out of hand that most of the starters for
both teams watched the fourth quarter from the bench.

"We've got to address some issues," Davis said. "These last
15 games we've been playing to our mental fatigue and playing to
our physical fatigue. That's why we're in the situation we're
in."

Game notes
Jamaal Magloire scored 20 points for the Hornets who
committed three 24-second violations. ... Bucks backup F Marcus
Haislip missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle.
... Porter said the NBA told him Ford missed making the rookie team
by a single vote from a panel that selected the participants.
"It's still mind-boggling," said Porter, who called the league
office for an explanation for the slight.