Page last updated on Sun Mar 29 00:26:07 EDT 2015
11/03/2012 1:30 AM EDT
Jennings scores 21 as Bucks beat Celtics 99-88

AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) -- Brandon Jennings had another big opening night for
the Milwaukee Bucks, just as he did in his first game as a pro.

He enjoyed Friday night's debut a lot more.

"We lost that game" in 2009, he said. "So I was glad to take
this one."

The Bucks took it to the Celtics from the start - outhustling
them and playing better offense and defense - and ruined
Boston's home opener with a 99-88 win that broke Milwaukee's
streak of five consecutive opening-game losses.

Jennings had 21 points, 13 assists and six steals. In his first
NBA game, he had 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists but
lost 99-86 at the Philadelphia 76ers.

On Friday, the Bucks didn't trail after the first 6 minutes and
led by at least 11 points throughout the second half.

Boston had cut a 46-30 halftime deficit to 48-35. Milwaukee
scored the next six points and led 76-58 going into the fourth

"In the third, when they started to get after it, started to
bump us, we responded really well," Bucks coach Scott Skiles
said. "We had a lot of energy. Guys were doing their jobs out

The same can't be said for the Celtics.

They allowed the second-fewest points in the NBA last season,
but struggled defensively for the second consecutive game. They
lost 120-107 to the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, matching the
most points they allowed in any game last season.

"We have a lot of new people, a lot of guys trying to get
adjusted," said Jason Terry, who signed in the offseason as a
free agent from the Dallas Mavericks. "It's going to take a
while, but to get outworked is definitely unacceptable."

Boston was led by Kevin Garnett with 15 points and Rajon Rondo
had 14 points and 11 assists. The Celtics lost their first three
games last season but reached the Eastern Conference finals
where they lost in seven games to the Heat.

"It starts and ends with our defense," Rondo said. "I'm the
point guard. I'm the first line of defense and initiate the
offense. I've got to be better."

The biggest cheers of the night went to David Ortiz, the Boston
Red Sox designated hitter seated in the front row at midcourt.

A baseball official with knowledge of the negotiations said the
team and Ortiz had agreed to a two-year, $26 million deal.
Several fans shouted "congratulations" to Ortiz as he walked to
his seat early in the third quarter. A loud cheer went up when
he was shown on the video scoreboard, then he raised his left
arm straight up to acknowledge the crowd.

Later in the quarter, the fans booed the Celtics when Monta
Ellis hit a layup after a steal by Jennings, giving the Bucks a
66-46 lead with 4:10 left in the period.

Tobias Harris scored 18 points for Milwaukee and Ellis had 14.

The Bucks led 94-72, matching their biggest lead, on a basket by
Jennings with 3:45 to go in the game before the Celtics whittled
the final margin to 11 points.

The Celtics have just six players who saw action with the team
last season and are struggling defensively after holding
opponents to the lowest field goal percentage in the league,
41.9 percent. Offensively, the Celtics could do little inside.

"We locked down that paint pretty good," said Larry Sanders, who
had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Bucks. "We were all
dependent on our teammates."

The Celtics allowed the Heat to shoot 54.4 percent in the opener
and the Bucks to make 46.5 percent. In their final regular
season game last season, the Celtics beat the Bucks 87-74.

"We missed the playoffs two years in a row, so it started from
tonight," Jennings said. "Whether I shoot bad or not, just as
long as they know I gave it my all."

Milwaukee took control after Paul Pierce gave Boston its last
lead, 10-8, with two free throws with 6:34 left in the first

Jennings followed with a layup, Ersan Ilyasova made a short
jumper and Ellis dunked on a fast break for a 16-10 lead. It was
25-18 after one quarter before the Bucks held the Celtics to 12
points in the second quarter.

Boston improved its shooting in the third quarter, hitting 56.3
percent, but committed seven turnovers that led to 10 points.

"I don't like our urgency yet," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
"When you watch us play, I don't like how we're approaching the
games. And until we (improve) that, we're going to struggle."

Notes: The Celtics allowed the Bucks to hit 44.4 percent of
their 3-point shots, one game after the Heat made 50 percent.
Last season, Boston was the best in the NBA defending the shot
at 30.8 percent. ... Milwaukee won its first season opener since
Nov. 1, 2006, when it beat Detroit 105-97. ... Led by Ilyasova's
11 rebounds, the Bucks held a 51-41 advantage on the boards.

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