Bucks 104 Raptors 98
TORONTO — Drew Gooden’s return from a 30-game fight with a left foot ailment could be the shot in the arm the Milwaukee Bucks need for their desperate playoff push.
Gooden scored 22 points off the bench and added 11 rebounds in his second game back from his lengthy layoff as the Bucks beat the Toronto Raptors 104-98 Wednesday.
The Raptors were unable to play spoiler, with the Bucks (30-45) badly needing to win to keep three games back of eighth-place Indiana in the Eastern Conference.
Brandon Jennings scored 25 points and added seven assists for the Bucks, while Andrew Bogut added 17 points and 10 rebounds.
“Drew is a big part of this team,” Jennings said of his teammate, who hadn’t played since Jan. 21 because of plantar fasciitis. “He is a great rebounder and he is a great screen and pop shooter. When he is out there making shots it just opens up the offence for a lot of us.”
Andrea Bargnani scored 22 points, returning to the Raptors line up after missing their last game with a sore right ankle. DeMar DeRozan added 20 points for the Raptors (20-54), who have lost five straight coming off a Western Conference road trip where they went 1-4. The Raptors didn’t have any answers as the Bucks beat them from the perimeter shooting 47 per cent from the three point line and inside, scoring 38 points in the paint.
“I thought the guy that hurt us was Gooden,” said Raptors coach Jay Triano. “When he came in he made jump shots against our second unit and that hurt us.”
In a hotly contested fourth quarter with the teams trading baskets, Gooden scored 12 points and eight rebounds. He followed up a key offensive tip-in with a 21-foot jump shot from the corner with 43 seconds, giving Milwaukee a 98-92 lead.
Leandro Barbosa responded with a 24-foot jump shot to bring the game within four points with 27.6 seconds left. Jennings made both free throws after being fouled on the subsequent inbound play extending the Bucks lead to 100-94.
DeRozan’s slashing lay up with 20 seconds was followed by two free throws by Gooden making the score 102-96 with 17.5 seconds left.
Barbosa’s three-point attempt with 11 seconds left fell short, hitting the front of the rim. Gooden finished the game off with another pair of free throws.
Bargnani scored 12 points in the third quarter, helping the Raptors keep pace, despite Jennings and Bogut each scoring eight for the Bucks.
DeRozan hit back-to-back pull-up jumpers to give the Raptors a 72-71 lead with 2:27 left in the quarter. On the Raptors last possession, Barbosa’s penetration led to an assist on a Reggie Evans lay up with 3.8 seconds left tying the game 76-76 at the end of the quarter.
Milwaukee started the second quarter on a 11-3 run, with the point guard tandem of Jennings and Earl Boykins scoring 15 points and seven assists in the quarter. Eight team turnovers by the Raptors helped the Bucks to a 52-49 lead going into halftime.
After starting the game shooting 11 of 13 from the field the Raptors cooled off taking a 28-22 lead into the second quarter.