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Hapless Bucks just what doctor ordered for Nuggets

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[February 21, 2014]  MILWAUKEE  For many struggling teams in the NBA this season, a date with the Milwaukee Bucks is just what the doctor ordered.

Thursday night, it was the Denver Nuggets' turn to heal, as they snapped a five-game losing streak with a 101-90 victory over the Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

"It's good to feel what it's like to get a 'W' again," Denver coach Brian Shaw said. "It's been awhile for us."

Forward Kenneth Faried took charge, scoring 26 points  one of five Nuggets to score in double figures.

Faried went 11 of 15 from the field, pacing a Nuggets offense that shot 51 percent and sank 8 of 18 3-pointers.

In his last two games, Faried scored 47 points.

"I decided to be aggressive and take over the team; take the team on my back and just be the go-to guy," Faried said. "This was Ty (Lawson's) team and I didn't want to overstep my boundaries but now Ty is gone, and we need someone to step up."

Forward Wilson Chandler hit all three of his 3-point attempts and was 6 of 8 overall to finish with 15 points while center J.J. Hickson added 14 with 10 rebounds and guard Randy Foye chipped in 12 with 10 of the Nuggets' 22 assists.

Center Timofey Mozgov hit 8 of 10 free throws and also finished with 14 points. He also added nine rebounds for the Nuggets (25-28), whose last victory came last Wednesday when they beat the Bucks 110-100 in Denver.

In finishing the season sweep, the Nuggets (25-28) won eight in a row against Milwaukee.

"That's a good win," Shaw said. "It'll be nice for our bus ride to Chicago."

The Bucks struggled without point guard Brandon Knight, who was out due to a foot injury sustained before Milwaukee's victory Monday night.

Without Knight, who was averaging 21.3 in seven February games, Drew played rookie point guard Nate Wolters 39 minutes, and at one point, had rookie forward Giannis Antetokounmpo take over ball-handling duties.

"We certainly missed Brandon," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "When we took Nate (Wolters) out of the game, I moved Giannis to the top of the floor to handle the basketball and let he and O.J. share some of the responsibilities."

Mayo scored 11 points in his first action since Jan. 25 and played 23 minutes. Though still not 100 percent, Mayo will have to adjust on the fly as Drew looks to fortify his rotation.

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After missing 10 games, Mayo said there were no issues with his return.

"I feel good," Mayo said. "I'm really just battling a strained Achilles a little bit. I strained it a little bit in workouts, but other than that I feel great.

Forward Caron Butler led Milwaukee with 17 points in his first start since Dec. 23. Forward Ersan Ilyasova added 14 with 11 rebounds and forward John Henson had 12 for the Bucks, who shot 42 percent and were 4-of-21 from beyond the arc.

"We just seemed like we never got into a rhythm," Drew said. "Every time we seemed to put together a little push, we never were able to sustain a rhythm. We made some bad plays and turned the ball over. Right when we seemed to be ready to turn the corner, we just couldn't come through and make plays."

Butler got Milwaukee within five early in the fourth quarter when Antetokounmpo found him open for a 17-footer that made it 78-73 with 10 minutes to play. But the Bucks wouldn't get another field goal until Wolters' tip-in with 3:23 left.

Meanwhile, Denver went on a 10-2 run.

The Bucks (10-44) became the last team to win their 10th game of the season earlier in the week, snapping a four-game losing streak, but remain the only team in the league without consecutive victories this season.

NOTES: Earlier Thursday, Milwaukee sent G Luke Ridnour and G Gary Neal to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for G Ramon Sessions and F Jeff Adrien. Neal saw limited playing time since signing a two-year, $6 million deal with the Bucks this summer and averaged 10.0 points while shooting 36 percent from the field in 30 games. Ridnour appeared in 36 games and averaged 5.7 points and 3.4 assists during his second stint with the Bucks. ... Sessions, originally drafted by Milwaukee in 2007, is expected to join the Bucks on Friday . ... The Nuggets were also active Thursday, shipping G Andre Miller to Philadelphia as part of a three-team trade that brought F Jan Vesely to Denver, along with a second-round draft pick. Miller had not played since Jan. 2, when he was suspended for an incident with Nuggets coach Brian Shaw.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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