Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Jarvis Hayes scored 13 points, none more important than the go-ahead three-pointer with 18.5 seconds remaining, as the New Jersey Nets escaped Milwaukee with a 99-95 victory over the Bucks.
Brook Lopez recorded 24 points and 12 rebounds and hit the clinching free throws in the final seconds for the Nets, who have won three of four and are now just a half-game behind the Bucks for the final seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Vince Carter and Devin Harris struggled to hit 8-of-34 from the field for 15 and 14 points, respectively, for New Jersey, which received 13 points from Ryan Anderson. Harris also doled out 11 assists.
Charlie Villanueva notched 24 points and 15 rebounds, while Richard Jefferson added 20 points for Milwaukee, which has lost five of seven. Ramon Sessions contributed 19 points and eight rebounds in the losing effort.
The Nets called timeout to draw up the go-ahead basket after Villanueva's jumper tied things at 90 with 31 ticks remaining. Carter penetrated and drew two defenders before making a cross-court pass to Hayes, who hit nothing but net from the left corner to lead 93-90 with 18.5 seconds left.
Villanueva corralled Allen's miss at the other end and was fouled, hitting two free throws with 9.7 seconds showing. Harris answered with two makes of his own at the stripe, and rather than give up a potential tying three-pointer, the Nets fouled on the next two Bucks tries.
The teams traded two makes apiece at the line, and Villanueva hit the first of his two before an intentional miss with two seconds to play. Lopez picked up the loose ball, was fouled, and hit the clinchers at the line for the much- needed win.
The Bucks played front-runner for the first three quarters but never pulled away. A 21-19 lead after the opening frame improved to 45-39 at the break. The clubs played even in the third, and the hosts maintained a five-point edge, 67-61, with 12 minutes to play.
Harris swiped the Bucks' pocket on three straight possessions during an 8-0 run early in the fourth, and his lay-in gave the Nets their first lead of the game, 71-70, just 90 seconds in.