Milwaukee, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - A forgettable first half of the season
for the Milwaukee Bucks appropriately ended in a loss to the New Orleans
Pelicans, thanks in part to a late missed dunk by Ersan Ilyasova.
Eric Gordon led seven Pelicans in double figures with 21 points, Brian Roberts
added 17 and Alexis Ajinca added 16 with nine rebounds in New Orleans' 102-98
Tyreke Evans and Anthony Davis each provided 12 points for New Orleans, which
had lost the first two tests of a three-game road trip and still sits in the
basement of the Southwest Division with a 23-29 record.
Ilyasova's missed uncontested throw-down with the Bucks trailing by three
inside the final two minutes proved vital and sent the team into the All-Star
break with a dismal 9-43 mark, easily the worst in the entire league.
Milwaukee has dropped four in a row and 10 of its last 11.
Brandon Knight had a team-high 22 points, while Gary Neal chipped in with 18
off the bench in the latest setback.
The Bucks erased an eight-point deficit early in the fourth when a Nate
Wolters layup tied it at 84-84 with 9:28 remaining, but they never got
completely over the hump.
After Wolters rattled in a corner 3-pointer with 2:08 remaining to pull
Milwaukee within 96-95, the next three possessions summed up Milwaukee's
season thus far.
After Roberts answered with a runner in the lane, Ilyasova missed an
uncontested dunk and the ball caromed high off the back of the rim, landed on
top of the backboard and fell into the arms of Evans, who scored inside at the
other end to give the Pelicans a 100-95 lead.
Ilyasova recovered to drain a three inside the final minute, but the Bucks
turned the ball over at the top of the key following a Roberts miss.
Gordon's two free throws with eight seconds to play sealed the outcome.
Neal's 11-point second-quarter effort helped the Bucks turn a 25-19 deficit
heading into the frame into a 49-46 halftime lead.
The Pelicans did not have a single fastbreak point in the first half, then had
10 during a 37-point third quarter that ended with the visitors holding an
Ilyasova, who missed Milwaukee's previous two games with back spasms, finished
with 16 points ... The Pelicans have won 13 of the last 15 games in this
series ... Eight of Milwaukee's 11 turnovers came in the second half.
The Sports Network