Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 4/7/12
MILWAUKEE Even with a win, Bucks coach Scott Skiles did not leave the arena Friday night in good spirits. With the league's worst team -- the 7-46 Charlotte Bobcats -- in Milwaukee, the Bucks were losing with less than four minutes remaining. Though a 12-6 run the rest of the way gave Skiles' group a much-needed win as they chase the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot, there were no smiles or congratulations in the Bucks' locker room after the game. "I told the guys, 'I'm not going home happy tonight,'" Skiles said. "I don't think they should either. I think they should be a little bit disgusted by it. Whatever they did to prepare today, they need to do something different tomorrow." This loss was the 10th in a row for a Bobcats team that is in clear control to have the most ping-pong balls in the upcoming NBA draft for the right to select Kentucky big man Anthony Davis. But with Davis still taking college classes and three of Charlotte's starters out with injuries, Milwaukee needed a late rally just to get by. "Our preparation this morning wasn't good," Skiles said. "We weren't good to start the game. Our defense was terrible. We won. Yippee. We weren't sharp (in preparation). They were quicker than us most of the whole game, they were bigger than of us most of the whole game, they had better hands than us most of the game, executed better than us most of the game, but we made enough plays to win." Bobcats forward Byron Mullens had a career-high 31 points and 14 rebounds, numbers that are significantly above his season averages of 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds. "Nothing against Mullens, but he looked like Bill Russell out there," Skiles said. Charlotte also out-rebounded the Bucks 57-45. "We've simplified it to, 'Are we even making an attempt to jump for the ball?'" Skiles said of his team's rebounding. "I don't think that's a high bar. I really don't." Despite the general negative feelings after the game, Milwaukee is now just one game back from the New York Knicks for the eighth seed in the East. The Bucks have also won three games in a row, though those victories have all been against non-playoff teams. "Make no bones about it, we're struggling right now," Mike Dunleavy said. "We're just not playing well at either end of the court. It's a struggle for us to pull out these wins. We need to start playing better or we're going to be in deep trouble. "(When) we don't match that same intensity (of our lesser opponents), it becomes a problem. These teams hang around and make it close, and one of these games is going to come back and bite us in the butt." While Skiles talked with the team following the game, Dunleavy added that it's not the first time these issues have been addressed. "We've talked about it, but you go through a season like this, if you're not careful and you get yourself in a rut, you don't just get out of it because somebody says something," Dunleavy said. "Things have been said and we need to continue to scrape and claw and fight our way out of it, and eventually hopefully it will come." The Bucks did not have a full complement of players, however. Drew Gooden missed his second consecutive game with a sore lower back, Carlos Delfino was out for the sixth straight game with a right groin injury and Luc Mbah a Moute was out with right knee tendonitis. Milwaukee hosts the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night. Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
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