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Clippers Rattle Bucks to Win

With less than a second left, Milwaukee's Redd misses first of three free throws to give L.A. a 105-103 victory.

February 22, 2004|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

MILWAUKEE — Quentin Richardson was trying to give Michael Redd an earful, but the Milwaukee Bucks' All-Star guard kept turning away.

Only one-tenth of a second remained in Saturday night's game in the Bradley Center, the Clippers led the Bucks by three points and Redd had been fouled by Corey Maggette while attempting a three-point shot.

If Redd, an 88.5% free-throw shooter who earlier in the season made 53 in a row, could make all three foul shots, he would send the game into overtime, where the Clippers would be without Maggette, who had fouled out.

So, Richardson wanted to bend Redd's ear, make him think.

"I kept telling him, 'You're going to miss the first one, you're going to miss the first one,' " Richardson said later, grinning at his effort to rattle a former high school rival. "I was just messing with him. And then I turned to T.J. Ford on the bench and I told him and [Buck assistant] coach Sam Mitchell, 'I bet you that he's going to miss the first one,' because that's the hardest one.

"I think if he would have got the first one out of the way, all three of them would have been [good]. But that first one, with that much pressure ...

"Miss one and you lose."

Which is what Redd did, rimming out his first attempt and enabling the Clippers to escape with a hard-earned 105-103 victory and end a five-game Bradley Center losing streak that dated to Feb. 23, 1997.

The Clippers also stopped an overall five-game road losing streak. They hadn't won on the road against a team with a winning record since Dec. 20.

And they trailed, 99-93, with less than three minutes to play when Bobby Simmons, back in the lineup after sitting out 17 games because of a sprained left hip, took a pass from Marko Jaric and scored on a layup to spark a 10-0 run.

The Clippers, who had blown an early 15-point lead and trailed by eight points earlier in the fourth quarter, suddenly buckled down in the clutch. They made critical shots and momentum-shifting defensive stops.

"We executed perfectly," said Elton Brand, whose line included 31 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots, the last on a layup by Tony Kukoc that would have given the Bucks the lead with fewer than 45 seconds remaining.

Maggette made two free throws with 4.4 seconds to play, and the plan was to foul before the Bucks could try a three-point shot.

Maggette, though, didn't foul until Redd was in the air.

Coach Mike Dunleavy slammed his fists on the scorer's table.

"The guys did a great job down the stretch of executing offensively and defensively to give us the opportunity to be in a position where we should have walked away from this with no question that this was our win," he said. "But we did not do a very good job of closing the game out.

"It's a lesson learned, and the good news is, it came with a win. But, other than that, it's something that obviously I wasn't very happy about."

Redd's missed free throws -- he made the second, was called for a lane violation while purposely missing the third -- provided a happy ending.

As Richardson said afterward, "A road win is a road win."

Redd, who had 14 points, probably didn't want to hear that either.


Doug Overton was put on the injured list -- because of a sprained left ankle, the Clippers said -- to make room on the active roster for Simmons, who scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter and played 21 minutes overall.

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