Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 1/4/12
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Denver - George Karl is not afraid to go the unconventional route if he thinks it will help his team win a game. So when the Denver Nuggets coach decided to use 6-foot-9, 250-pound forward Al Harrington to defend 7-foot, 260-pound Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut in the fourth quarter Monday night, it was not a huge surprise. And Karl's tactic worked to perfection as Harrington stood strong in the defensive post and Denver rallied for a 91-86 victory at the Pepsi Center. Trailing by one point in the final 30 seconds, the Bucks went to Bogut in the post and Harrington pushed him off his sweet spot just enough as the Milwaukee center missed a 7-foot, righthanded hook shot. That led to a fast break and a game-clinching layup by Nuggets guard Ty Lawson, who scored with 10.9 seconds left to give Denver an 89-86 lead. It was a night of squandered opportunities for the Bucks , who led for much of the game but could not put away the Nuggets, who were playing the third game of a grueling back-to-back-toback set. "Al was pretty incredible," Karl said. "Even though he gave us good offense tonight, falling into Al on Bogut wasn't in the game plan. "I didn't think that's where it would end up, but it did. I usually lean to playing my best five players to end the game, and with Nene out in our front line, I don't know who that's going to be. But Al has been playing great. "The physicality of the post-up, Timo (Mozgov) and Kosta (Koufos) were getting the young foul or the rookie foul. Al seemed to be able to hold his ground and he is strong." The Nuggets were without starting power forward Nene, who missed the game with a bruised left foot. But the Bucks (2-2) could not take advantage in the opening game of their fivegame western swing, which continues Tuesday night in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz. "We had a chance to get it," said Bucks guard Stephen Jackson, who led the team with 17 points but missed a potential go-ahead jumper with 50 seconds remaining. "I had a good look. We've just got to get better on our execution at the end. We had a chance to win. When you're on the road, you want to try to find a way to hang around and steal it at the end." Jackson credited Harrington's effort and said, "He worked hard this summer and you can see by his body he's strong. He can guard 3, 4 and 5. "He did a good job on Bogues tonight, but we'll live with that. We'll go to Bogues all day with a shorter guy on him." Harrington also contributed on the offensive end with 17 points. Forward Danilo Gallinari paced the Nuggets (4-2) with 21points and10 rebounds, and Lawson added 16 points and six assists. Carlos Delfino was in the starting lineup due to Mike Dunleavy Jr.'s illness, and Delfino finished with 14 points and nine rebounds in 42 minutes. Bogut and point guard Brandon Jennings each had 12 points. "We missed layups and open shots; we over-dribbled," said Bucks coach Scott Skiles. "Our teamwork that we've had wasn't there tonight and as a result we got beat. "The focus shouldn't be on those last couple plays. We didn't play well enough to win." Skiles said when Karl made the decision to use a small lineup, it forced a decision for the Bucks . And Skiles wanted to go in to Bogut to see if the Bucks could take advantage. But Bogut was limited to two points on1-for-3 shooting in the final quarter. "I couldn't score on him," Bogut said. "He's so strong down there and he just pushed me off the block. "I couldn't really make them pay for going small. He was a game-changer for them." Jennings, who scored 20 or more points in the Bucks' first three games, was frustrated with his performance (5-for-16 shooting) and the outcome. "It's a tough loss," Jennings said. "My shot wasn't falling tonight, and I wasn't really executing the way I should have. "I had some terrible missed layups. I kind of put this game on me for not converting down the stretch.". Copyright 2012, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.) Copyright, 2012, Journal Sentinel, All Rights Reserved.
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