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 Villanueva scores 36 as Bucks edge Nuggets 120-117

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Join date : 2008-11-21

PostSubject: Villanueva scores 36 as Bucks edge Nuggets 120-117   Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:27 pm

MILWAUKEE(AP) Charlie Villanueva knew he was in a groove when his shot from beyond midcourt was good.It
was one of those nights for Villanueva, who scored nine of his
season-high 36 points in the fourth quarter to help the Milwaukee Bucks
beat the Denver Nuggets 120-117 on Sunday.Villanueva had already
made four 3-pointers in the first quarter when he launched a 65-foot
shot from well inside the Nuggets' side on the court."I had it
going early on and once I hit that shot, I knew I was on fire,'' he
said after he tied his career high with seven 3-pointers. He grabbed
five rebounds and four assists.Ramon Sessions added 16 of his 27 points in the first half for the Bucks."Charlie
and Ramon kind of carried the offensive load for us,'' Bucks coach
Scott Skiles said. "We had other guys chipping in with some points, but
for the most part those two guys made the big offensive plays when we
had to have them.''Villanueva sat out much of the second quarter after picking up his second foul."Obviously, I would have left him in there if he hadn't gotten two fouls,'' Skiles said. "He really carried us.''Nuggets
coach George Karl said the team watched film and discussed Sessions and
Villanueva, but then didn't carry it onto the court."I think
they were surprised by it,'' Karl said of the success by Villanueva and
Sessions. "I think they were surprised by how quick he Villanueva)
shoots the ball. Sessions kept getting to the free-throw line.''The
Nuggets' thin frontline possibly got even thinner when Jefferson and
Nene collided with less than a minute to play. The two appeared to bang
their knees together. Nene left with a right knee contusion and needed
crutches to get to the team bus. He'll be evaluated by team doctor
Steve Traina in Denver on Monday.Villanueva has started the last 18 games, averaging 22.4 points and 7.9 rebounds with seven double-doubles.Carmelo
Anthony scored 33 points and Chauncey Billups added 21 for the Nuggets,
who ended a season-high eight-game road trip with a 5-3 mark. Denver
plays its first game at home since February 3 on Monday against the
Boston Celtics.Villanueva made one 3-pointer each in the second
and third before hitting one that gave Milwaukee its biggest lead of
the fourth at 103-98 with 10 minutes to play. It was the most 3s Denver
has allowed since Jason Kidd had six for Dallas on Nov. 7.Villanueva
hit a short jumper over Linas Kleiza to put Milwaukee up 116-113 with
33.3 seconds left. Anthony fouled Luke Ridnour who made one free throw,
but Anthony answered with a driving layup as he muscled through the
Bucks' defense.Charlie Bell played the entire final period and
finished with 13 points, including two pressure free throws with 2.8
seconds left for the Bucks' final margin. Kleiza was ignored by
Milwaukee defenders as he drove in for a dunk, Denver's final points.Anthony
turned in another gritty effort since bruising his left knee Feb. 18 at
Philadelphia. The team's leading scorer with a 21.6 average, he managed
just 12 points on Friday in 116-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls and was a
game-time decision against Milwaukee. He had 20 points in the first
half, shooting 6-of-9 from the floor and made eight of 10 free throws.Denver's loss to the Bucks (28-31) was only their fourth this season against a sub-.500 opponent.The
lead changed six times down the stretch before Richard Jefferson, who
had 17 points, scored on a driving layup that gave Milwaukee a 114-113
lead with 1:39 left to play. Villanueva's short jumper in traffic
pushed the lead to three and the Bucks hung on for the victory.The
Northwest Division-leading Nuggets have been on the road 19 days, but
won't get a lot of rest immediately. They play three games in five
days, facing the Celtics without Kevin Garnett (right knee sprain) on
Monday, the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday and the Los Angeles Lakers on
Friday.Notes: Renaldo Balkman started for Kenyon Martin, who was
out with back spasms. Karl said he was unsure if Martin would play
against the Celtics. ... The teams traded buzzer-beating 3s in the
first half. Villanueva heaved his big shot from the Nuggets' side of
center court at the end of first quarter. Jones made a 34-footer for
the Nuggets to close the second. ... Anthony's first basket of the
game, a 20-foot jumper, put him in fourth place on the Nuggets' career
scoring list, passing Ralph Simpson (10,130). ... The Nuggets had 24
turnovers to Milwaukee's 13. Denver outrebounded the Bucks 48-31.

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