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News » BUCKS 96, PISTONS 85 Jennings delivers again He has 24 pointsin home opener

BUCKS 96, PISTONS 85 Jennings delivers again He has 24 pointsin home opener

BUCKS 96, PISTONS 85  Jennings delivers again  He has 24 pointsin home opener By CHARLES F. GARDNER

A festive Halloween night featured the Milwaukee Bucks opening their home season and American Idol finalist Danny Gokey back at home.

The only potential spoilers in the evening were the Detroit Pistons, the Bucks' Central Division rivals.

After a sluggish first half, the Bucks turned to rookie Brandon Jennings, who was coming off a near triple-double in his NBA debut on Friday. This time Jennings showed he can score, too, finishing with 24 points to lead the Bucks to a 96-85 victory before a crowd of 15,095.

The 20-year-old Jennings went on a personal nine-point run in the third quarter, sending the Bradley Center crowd into a frenzy and helping the Bucks take control of the game.

Jennings sank four consecutive shots, including a fast-break layup after he went behind his back with a nifty dribble. He ended his nine-point surge with a three-pointer, part of a 12-0 Milwaukee run, and he finished with 16 points in the quarter.

The Bucks outscored the Pistons, 36-14, in the period to grab a 74-63 lead. Jennings was red-hot while sinking all seven shots he attempted in the quarter, including 2 three-pointers.

"They had him back on his heels early in the game," coach Scott Skiles said. "But he came out in the third quarter and gave us a huge lift.

"He got in the zone there a little while and showed another element of his game."

Bucks guard Michael Redd scored nine points in 24 minutes before leaving the game late in the third quarter with left knee soreness in what was termed a precautionary move.

Former Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva paced Detroit's fourth-quarter rally, but the Bucks were able to stay in command in the final minutes, even with center Andrew Bogut out of the game with six fouls.

Hakim Warrick added 21 points and sank 10 of 15 foul shots, leading a determined Bucks bench effort. Milwaukee (1-1) received 52 points from six reserves and also got big defensive efforts from Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Charlie Bell.

Ben Gordon had 26 points to lead Detroit (1-2), and Rodney Stuckey added 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Jennings showed he was capable of taking over a game with his scoring, and he pumped up the crowd with his arms after the Bucks rallied in the third quarter.

"Tonight, I was thinking, 'Let's put on a show, but let's get a win at the same time,' " Jennings said while in a crowded corner of the Bucks locker room. "That play (behind-the-back dribble) I did on Stuckey, that was my part of putting on the show but at the same time containing myself and trying to get the win.

"I got that (move) from Kobe Bryant. The only thing was Kobe dunked it and I didn't."

After the Bucks got off to a sluggish start, Skiles went to his reserves. Redd played only the first 5 minutes before heading to the bench, and Bogut also left the floor after drawing his second foul with 7:02 left in the first quarter.

Bogut and Redd returned to the lineup with 7:32 left in the second quarter and the Bucks trailing, 33-25. Redd immediately hit a three-pointer and drove to the basket and was fouled, and he converted two free throws as the Bucks pulled within 35-30.

But Gordon and Stuckey led another Detroit surge, and center Ben Wallace tossed down a dunk and hit two foul shots.

A frustrated Bogut picked up his third foul with 44.5 seconds left in the half and trudged to the bench. Bogut and Redd were each 1 for 5 from the field in the half, and Jennings was 1 for 4 as the Bucks shot 30% (12 of 40).

Detroit led by 16 points before a three-pointer by Carlos Delfino and two free throws by Warrick cut the Pistons' lead to 49-38 at halftime.

The Pistons were without veteran guard Richard Hamilton due to a sprained right ankle, but Detroit still featured a strong guard trio of Gordon, Stuckey and Will Bynum.

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

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