Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 1/4/12
Denver - The Milwaukee Bucks had a great chance to get their five-game western swing off to a rousing start. But they faltered down the stretch in a 91-86 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Monday night at the Pepsi Center. Nuggets coach George Karl went for speed over size as he used 6-foot-9 Al Harrington to defend Bucks 7-foot center Andrew Bogut in the final quarter. And the tactic worked as Harrington held his own against Bogut and scored two key baskets, one a dunk on a slip pass from Rudy Fernandez, as Denver overcame a six-point deficit. Harrington's dunk capped a 10-0 run and gave Denver an 86-81 lead with 4:01 remaining. The Bucks missed seven consecutive shots before Carlos Delfino drilled a three-pointer with 2:25 left to bring Milwaukee within 86-84. Referees reviewed the play for a long time to determine whether Delfino's foot was on the line, and it was ruled to be a three-pointer. A jumper by Stephen Jackson cut Milwaukee's deficit to 87-86 with 1:55 remaining, and Brandon Jennings missed a potential goahead three-pointer. Jackson also had a chance at a go-ahead jumper and Bogut missed a right-handed hook, setting up a fast-break basket by Ty Lawson with 10.9 seconds left for an 89-86 Denver lead. After a timeout, Jennings missed a three from the top of the arc. Danilo Gallinari added 21 points for Denver (4-2), Harrington had 17 and Lawson had 16 points and six assists. Jackson led the Bucks (2-2) with 17 points and Delfino had 14. Denver played without power forward Nene, out with a bruised left heel. Coach Scott Skiles said before the game his team would try to take advantage of the big man's absence. "He's an athletic big man that has great hands and he's a good passer," Skiles said. "I'm not shedding any tears." Former Ohio State star and fourth-year pro Kosta Koufos started at center in place of Nene. Karl said before the game he liked the look of the revamped Bucks with Stephen Jackson and Mike Dunleavy Jr., although Dunleavy was not with the team on Monday due to illness. "I said to my coaches when we watched film today, 'They kind of remind me of how we play,' "Karl said. "We don't have a great player supposedly. "But we have a lot of good players. And I think Milwaukee has a lot of good players, and Skiles does a good job of rotating it. OK, it's Stephen Jackson's game tonight. OK, (Beno) Udrih is playing good tonight; (Shaun) Livingston is giving us something. "They've always had Bogut and Jennings. In the last 6 or 7 minutes of the game, those are the guys you're probably going to have to figure out. But I like the playmaking talents of their wing people." Drew Gooden did not play in the Bucks' previous game but checked in with Jon Leuer with 6:06 left in the first quarter. Gooden and Leuer replaced Bogut and Ersan Ilyasova. Jackson got off to a good start, hitting a three-pointer on his first attempt and later adding a jumper and a basket on a drive. A jumper by Leuer gave the Bucks a 20-17 lead with 3:45 left in the first quarter. The Bucks shot 52% in the opening quarter as they grabbed a 30-24 lead. Jackson led the way with seven points and Leuer had six off the bench. A two-pointer by Gooden gave the Bucks a 28-20 lead with a minute left in the quarter, but Denver countered with two baskets by Corey Brewer, including a fast-break dunk after an offbalance shot by Udrih. Livingston scored on a post-up move in the lane to put Milwaukee ahead by six after one quarter. Skiles inserted Luc Richard Mbah a Moute into the lineup late in the first quarter, and the Bucks forward quickly made an impact by blocking a shot by Denver guard Andre Miller early in the second period. Mbah a Moute was playing for the first time in the regular season after missing the first three games with tendinitis in his right knee. Udrih opened the quarter with a jumper and a threepointer as the Bucks extended their lead to 35-26, their biggest margin in the half. 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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