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Jennings returns, Bucks beat Nets 91-81

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Associated Press
January 30, 2011
— With Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers watching from courtside seats, Brandon Jennings was pleased with his return Saturday night as the unofficial quarterback of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Andrew Bogut had 17 points and 18 rebounds and Jennings had two points in his return after missing 19 games because of a broken foot to help the Bucks win their third consecutive game, 91-81 over the New Jersey Nets.


Jennings missed all three shots he took but made a pair of free throws and had one assist in 11 minutes off the bench in a game where Rodgers received the biggest cheers of the night while watching courtside with Milwaukee Brewers All-Star Ryan Braun.


"It felt good just to be back out there with the guys," Jennings said. "I was all right. I knew I wasn't going to play as much, when I did I was just trying to get back in the flow, trying to get my rhythm back. I'm just trying to get better and better in each game."


Jennings and Rodgers had a brief conversation on the court just after the final buzzer sounded.


"I told him, 'Good luck, this town is really buzzing right now because of you guys. It's important that you guys go down there and take care of business just to keep the city alive. Green and yellow all day,'" Jennings said about the Packers' trip to the Super Bowl.


Brook Lopez scored 26 points and Anthony Morrow had 16 for New Jersey. Devin Harris had 10 points and 16 assists.


"Yeah, but what did we have as a team?" Harris asked.


The answer is 19 assists. Lopez had two assists and Humphries had one, and no other Nets had any.


"We need to get back to swinging the ball because that's what we do when we're playing well," Harris said. "We do it at home but now we have to start doing it on the road as well."


Carlos Delfino led Milwaukee in scoring with 21 points and Keyon Dooling had 14 points and nine assists.


Delfino missed 32 games this season with concussion-like symptoms and a neck strain. Bogut said Delfino's return gives the Bucks an outside scoring threat that the team was missing most of the season.


"It's huge for us," Bogut said. "He can create off the dribble for us, we can put in pick and rolls, he has a high basketball IQ and he rebounds for us as well. We missed him as much as anybody."


It was a game between the lowest-scoring teams in the NBA and both squads stayed in form with the Bucks missing eight of nine shots to open the game and New Jersey missing 10 of 13 to begin the second quarter.


"We just got stuck offensively," New Jersey coach Avery Johnson said of the second quarter. "The ball stopped moving. We couldn't get the ball up the court in time. We were just out of sync."


The Bucks went 8-11 with Jennings injured and the return of the team's leading scorer at 17.9 points comes at a good time for Milwaukee. The game Saturday night was the second in a stretch where they play 12 of 13 games against teams with losing records.


Milwaukee (19-26) is ninth in the Eastern Conference standings.


Despite Jennings return, Dooling was the key point guard against the Nets in the fourth quarter. He sparked a 15-4 run, scoring six points with an assist during the stretch.


Dooling made a long 2-pointer to extend Milwaukee's lead to 81-67 and then hit another jumper. Bogut rebounded his own miss for another easy basket and the Bucks led, 85-67.


New Jersey ran off six consecutive points to pull to 85-73 on a pair of free throws by Lopez, but Delfino scored on a running layup to make it 87-73 with 3:46 to go.


Travis Outlaw made a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left to bring the Nets to 89-81, but New Jersey could get no closer.


Milwaukee took the lead for good, 30-27, on Delfino's 3-pointer with 9:50 left in the second quarter and led, 45-37 at halftime.


NOTES: The crowd gave Rodgers and Braun a standing ovation when they walked onto their courtside seats with 4:15 left in the third quarter while the game was being played. The pair was introduced prior to the fourth quarter, drawing the biggest cheers of the night in the Bradley Center. ... Milwaukee's John Salmons missed his seventh game due to a right hip strain, Chris Douglas-Roberts was excused due to a death in his family and Drew Gooden was out with plantar fascitis in his left foot. ... The Nets' Jordan Farmar missed his second consecutive game with a lower back strain.



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