PHILADELPHIA — Carlos Delfino
scored 23 points and Luke Ridnour had 18 to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to
a 95-90 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
The Bucks are jostling for playoff
position and entered the game tied for fifth with Miami in the Eastern
Conference. They've won four straight games and have remained in the
hunt for the No. 5 seed even without injured center Andrew Bogut.
The Bucks led wire-to-wire against
the woeful Sixers and have held three straight teams to 90 or fewer
points. Brandon Jennings had 16 points and seven assists.
Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 21 points. Philadelphia missed 11-of-20 attempts from the free throw line.
John Salmons, who has been a surprise
star for the Bucks since his trade from Chicago, played only 24 minutes
because of the flu.
He scoring touch would have been
handy in the fourth quarter when the hapless Sixers started to make a
run and nearly played spoiler in the playoff race.
The Sixers sliced the lead to under five several times, but couldn't sustain the big buckets long enough to ever take the lead.
Jrue Holiday, who was 0-for-8 in the first half, nailed a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left that cut it to 89-87.
Jennings did what the Sixers failed
to do — make free throws. He calmly sank two in a tight game late in
the fourth, much like the rookie might be asked to do in a decisive
Iguodala, suddenly playing some of
his best basketball of the season long after any of the games matter,
hit his third 3 and there was still a glimmer of hope for lottery-bound
It didn't last long. The Bucks
clinched the win from the foul line and then it was off to the locker
room to wait for word on the Detroit at Miami game. A Heat loss would
put the Bucks in fifth.
Unlike the Sixers, Milwaukee thrived from the line, going 21-for-23.
Bucks coach Scott Skiles stumped for
Jennings' candidacy for rookie of the year before the game. His
criteria was simple: Jennings was having the best season of any rookie
leading his team to the playoffs. This wasn't one of his stronger games
— only 4-for-17 — but all those free throws down the stretch helped the
Bucks hang on.
The Bucks rolled to a 13-point lead
in the first half because the Sixers simply couldn't hit shots. Holiday
missed all eight attempts, Willie Green was 0-for-3 and Elton Brand 1-for-5.
Milwaukee's Royal Ivey and
Primoz Brezec started the season with the 76ers. They were part of a
trade that sent Francisco Elson to Philadelphia. Elson made his season
debut with the Sixers and scored two points. The Sixers also acquired
Jodie Meeks in that Feb. 16 deal, and he scored 11 points in 22
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