Finally healthy after long absences, Drew Gooden and Michael Redd are giving the Milwaukee Bucks a big boost in their chase for a playoff berth.
Brandon Jennings scored 25 points, Gooden and Andrew Bogut each had double-doubles and the Bucks beat the Toronto Raptors 104-98 Wednesday night.
"The guy that hurt us was Gooden," Raptors coach Jay Triano said. "When he came in he made jump shots against our second unit and that hurt us."
Gooden had 22 points and 11 rebounds and Bogut had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks, who had lost three of their previous four games. Carlos Delfino added 14 points for Milwaukee.
"Drew is a big part of this team," Jennings said. "He's a great rebounder and he's a great screen-and-pop shooter. When he's out there making shots, it opens up the offense a lot."
The Bucks are three games behind Indiana for the final playoff spot in the East. Milwaukee, which has eight games left to play, visits Indiana on Friday night.
"This is probably do or die for us," Bogut said. "This game is everything for us and probably everything for them, too."
Jennings agreed with Bogut's assessment of the looming matchup with the Pacers, who beat Detroit on Wednesday.
"This might be the biggest game of the season for us," he said.
Gooden and Redd returned from injury in Monday's one-point loss at Charlotte. Redd had missed 14 months after two knee surgeries, while Gooden had not played since Jan. 21 with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
"You can say it's similar to making a trade and having two guys come in, but we didn't trade anybody," Gooden said. "It's a plus for us to be healthy right now and contributing down the stretch."
The strain of an extended spell on the sidelines showed in Gooden's performance against Charlotte, when he missed five of six shots. He was more comfortable against Toronto, making his first five attempts.
"Even though we didn't win against Charlotte, to have an opportunity to go out there and play really eased a lot of pressure off my shoulders," Gooden said.
Held scoreless in Charlotte, Redd finished with five points in eight minutes, notching his first points since Jan. 8, 2010, on a second quarter 3-pointer.
"He got a real good look at the 3 and put it right in the middle," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said.
Andrea Bargnani scored 22 points and DeMar DeRozan had 20 for the Raptors, who lost their fifth straight. Leandro Barbosa had 18 points and Jose Calderon scored 13 before leaving with a sore left hamstring.
Bargnani (right ankle) and Reggie Evans (right foot) returned to Toronto's lineup after sitting out Saturday's road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Bucks led 85-80 with 7:19 remaining, but DeRozan made two free throws and a jump shot and Bargnani added a driving layup to put the Raptors up 88-87 with 4:49 left.
Delfino answered with a 3-pointer and Gooden drained two from the line to give Milwaukee a 92-88 lead with 2:50 to go.
Toronto twice cut the deficit in half on reverse layups from Jerryd Bayless and Barbosa, but a hook shot by Bogut and a jumper from Gooden put Milwaukee up 98-92 with 43 seconds left, and the Bucks sealed victory at the free-throw line.
The Raptors started hot, making 10 of their first 11 shots to open a 24-12 lead. But Toronto made just two more field goals in the final four minutes of the quarter as Milwaukee closed the gap to 28-22 after one.
Jennings scored eight points in the second and Earl Boykins had seven as the Bucks rallied to take a 52-49 lead at the half.
Bargnani scored 12 points in the third and Evans made a layup with 4 seconds left in the quarter to tie it at 76 heading to the fourth.
Notes: The Bucks won for the first time this season when their opponent shot better than 50 per cent. ... Toronto's James Johnson added a career-high 10 rebounds. ... Bayless was called for a flagrant foul after shoving Milwaukee's Jon Brockman into the stanchion on a fast break in the second. Brockman shot his free throws before leaving with an injured left shoulder. ... Skiles said he's been asked to limit Redd to single digits in minutes as he gets back in game shape. Redd played 15 minutes Monday. ... Canadian ATP tennis player Milos Raonic attended the game.