The Bucks had a golden opportunity to climb forward in the playoff race tonight. Then they had another, and another, and another. They threw them all away. Despite taking a seven-point lead into the start of the fourth quarter, despite the fact that Brandon Jennings had a wide-open layup (it was even on his natural left-hand side), and despite the fact that Charlotte had to finish the game with their third-string point guard, Milwaukee failed to produce enough points to secure a victory that would have tied them with Charlotte in the standings. Instead, they fall two games behind Charlotte and three behind Indiana, who came from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat Boston.
Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings finished with 26 points each, although Jennings only mustered his total on 10-27 FG shooting. Milwaukee missed their last 11 shots, including six by Jennings and a buzzer-beating, Herculean, running tip-in attempt by Carlos Delfino. It bounced around and rolled out. Mixed in with those 11 consecutive misses was an erroneous 24-second shot clock violation on an attempt by Jennings that hit the glass, grazed the rim, and deflected downward. Upon video review, the officials still maintained the violation despite clear photo evidence of a double impact.
With 11:18 left in the game and the Bobcats trailing by nine points, Shaun Livingston made a drive to the hoop. Drew Gooden, playing in his first game in nearly two months, came over and gave
Livingston a solid foul, blocking the ball with his hand but also bumping him with the body and delivering a blow with his arm to Livingston’s face. Livingston fell to the floor and injured his back. On the ensuing free throws, Gooden came to “check” on Shaun, but instead walked straight through the spot where Livingston stood ready to try his free throws. For Gooden, it was an glaring exhibition of poor sportsmanship.
Two minutes later, Matt Carroll came straight down the middle of the floor on a fast break attempt. He elevated over Gooden and scored a finger roll. Gooden stood perched to draw a charge, but Drew’s feet were inside the circle, enabling Carroll to draw a foul and complete a three-point play. It was the trigger of a 20-10 Charlotte scoring run to finish the game.
Easily lost in the commotion of the frantic finish was the return of Michael Redd from his ACL injury. He entered the game early when John Salmons picked up two quick fouls. Delfino, John Salmons, and Redd shot a combined 4-21 in the game, including 2-12 from three-point range. As mentioned previously in this space, when the perimeter scoring burns its way into a drought, this Bucks team has a tough time putting together enough points to win. Tonight was no exception.