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Undermanned Bucks continue playoff push in New Jersey

All-Star point guard Deron Williams will be out of the game slide against a Milwaukee Bucks team pushing for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Williams was also sidelined Saturday, nursing a strained right calf, during New Jersey's 112-106 setback to Houston. The All-Star was re-evaluated Monday morning and ruled out of tonight's contest and will be listed as day-to-day moving forward.

Without Williams in the lineup, the Nets' Gerald Green inadvertently tipped the ball into his own basket with 1:03 remaining, giving the Rockets a lead they would not relinquish.

New Jersey held a 106-105 lead when Green, who finished with a season-high 26 points, tipped a Courtney Lee miss into the basket. Luis Scola was credited with the bucket and the Rockets scored the game's final seven points to halt a season-long five-game losing streak.

Rookie MarShon Brooks had 23 points, a career-high seven assists and five rebounds in the setback, the opener of a three-game homestand. Jordan Farmar had 18.

"We weren't into it defensively in the first half but we stepped it up and a lot of guys contributed," said Farmar. "It was good to see, just would have loved to come out with the win."

The Nets, who are just 4-14 in north Jersey this season, will finish their brief homestand against the Raptors on Wednesday.

The Bucks, meanwhile, won their second straight contest in Toronto on Sunday and crept within one game of slumping New York for the eighth spot in the East.

The red-hot Ersan Ilyasova had 31 points and 12 rebounds in that one as a shorthanded Milwaukee club rallied for a 105-99 win over the Raptors.

The Bucks, already without Andrew Bogut because of a fractured ankle and Stephen Jackson because of a hamstring injury, were also down Luc Mbah a Moute (right knee sprain) and Shaun Livingston (left ankle sprain).

They took their first lead late in the third quarter, then hung on to beat the Raptors for the sixth straight time. Drew Gooden added 21 points and Mike Dunleavy scored 19 off the bench for Milwaukee, which has won three of four overall, with the lone defeat coming by just two points to NBA-best Chicago.

Ilyasova, who was one point shy of his career-high 32 set last Wednesday against the Bulls. played more than 44 minutes and said he struggled to catch his breath, particularly in the third quarter when he would try to steal some energy at the free throw line.

"I kept looking at the clock," he said. "It just seemed slow. But it was a good win."

The Turkish star scored 11 of his 31 points in the third and the Bucks finally got the lead on his two free throws with around two minutes left.

They trailed going into the fourth after Leandro Barbosa's three-pointer made it 79-78, but Dunleavy knocked down a three with 4:44 remaining in the game to give the Bucks the lead for good.

"We're going to have to address the slow starts, especially with games being as huge as they are right now," Skiles said.

Ilyasova has averaged 29.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in his last three games.

Mbah a Moute and Livingston are day-to-day but neither is expected back Monday for the Bucks.

New Jersey hasn't beaten Milwaukee since a 99-95 win in Brew City back on March 3, 2009.