Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/12/12
MILWAUKEE -- It wasn't pretty, but considering the circumstances, the Milwaukee Bucks aren't complaining about their 98-85 victory over Sacramento Wednesday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Already playing without key reserves Mike Dunleavy Jr. (bruised knee) and Beno Udrih (sprained ankle), a sprained ankle kept starting center Joel Pryzbilla off the court and Larry Sanders was held out with an illness. It could have been a recipe for disaster, but despite shooting just 40 percent from the field, the Bucks were able to muster up enough offense for a wire-to-wire victory and their season-high third consecutive win. "It wasn't a well-played game for either team," Skiles said. "Nobody's going to send this one to the Hall of Fame. But at some point, you have to make enough plays to win the game and tonight we did." Monta Ellis was a pivotal factor in the Bucks' success Wednesday, scoring 17 points and grabbing eight rebounds. He shot 7 of 17 from the field, but when his shot wasn't falling, he was able to find the open man, finishing with 11 assists. Brandon Jennings had 19 points and three assists, while Luc Richard Mbah a Moute added 17 and Ersan Ilyasova came off the bench and finished with 16. The lack of available bodies required some creative lineups and afforded little-used Drew Gooden to see his longest action of the season, scoring seven points with 10 rebounds in 22 minutes of work. "It felt great," Gooden said. "It's a bad time for our team unfortunately with a couple of guys that can't play. To get my name called and go out there, that really shows how much I love this game." It helped Milwaukee's cause that Sacramento, too, was playing without two of its top three scorers. Marcus Thornton missed the game while handling a family matter and just hours before the game, the NBA issued a one-game suspension to DeMarcus Cousins for hitting the Mavericks' O.J. Mayo in the groin during the teams' game Monday in Dallas. With Cousins -- and his 17.2 points per game -- out of the lineup, Jason Thompson slid over to center and Travis Outlaw started for the Kings. That duo, along with former Bucks forward John Salmons, was effective, outscoring Milwaukee in the paint, 52-46 but were outrebounded on the offensive end -- a big part of Cousins' game -- 24-16. "We took some hurt on the offensive rebounds," said Salmons, who finished with 16 points. "They got a lot of rebounds and it hurt us. We were smaller than we usually are and it hurt us." The good news for the Kings was Tyreke Evans, out for the last three games, returned to the lineup and led Sacramento with 17 points. Ultimately, the Kings couldn't overcome Cousins' absence. They struggled from the field, shooting just 37 percent and connecting on 3 of 19 3-point attempts, losing for the second consecutive game and fifth in their last eight. "Regardless of what lineup is on the floor, we still have to do things the way that we've done them," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "You still have to move the ball several times. We had some occasion in the game, but it wasn't enough to offset the times we didn't." A Brandon Jennings layup gave Milwaukee a 67-60 lead late in the third quarter but the Kings opened the fourth quarter 1 for 12 from the field. After the Bucks had stretched the lead to 15, Ellis connected on a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 94-76 with 3:21 left, effectively sealing the victory for Milwaukee. NOTES: After missing five of the last six games, Evans played 23 minutes. ... Ellis connected on a 3-pointer at the first quarter buzzer from just inside the half-court line. According to basketball-reference.com, that was the longest shot by a Bucks player since Jodie Meeks hit a 50-footer against Golden State in 2009 … Thompson grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds. ... Luc Richard Mbah a Moute made his first start of the season and his 17 points were a season-high. ... The Bucks set a season-high with 60 rebounds season. ... The teams' previous seven meetings had been decided by single-digit margins.
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