Milwaukee Bucks collect solid home opening win over the Bobcats

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Andrew Bogut

By Jake McCormick

Fans packed the Bradley Center in costumes Saturday night hoping to see the Milwaukee Bucks turn in a performance worthy of the holiday and home opener hype against the visiting Charlotte Bobcats, and they were not disappointed in the 98-88 victory that was headlined by Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings’ first career triple double (20 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds).

“For a young point guard, he’s balancing a lot of stuff out there,” coach Scott Skiles said. “He’s got some new teammates he’s trying to play with, we’ve got a few things we’re doing a little bit different on offense to get those players involved. There’s a lot of things he’s juggling out there right now.”

In their first back-end of a back-to-back in the 2010-11 NBA season, the Milwaukee Bucks gave fans reasons to believe the talk surrounding the new and improved Bucks was more justified than what they had seen in the first two games of the season.

First quarter
The Milwaukee Bucks played perhaps their best defensive quarter of the young season in the opening quarter against the Charlotte Bobcats, limiting Charlotte to just 14 shots and a 35.7 field goal percentage. The Bucks were also able to make shots inside and out, going 4-7 from three point range and mixing in a few quick hit passes for easy Andrew Bogut baskets.

Highlight: From the 3:24 to 1:48 mark in the first quarter, Andrew Bogut went three for three on post ups, spread between a hook shot, dunk, and layup. Bogut also made his presence known defensively with a block (he had four for the game), and showed signs on both ends of the court that his elbow may not be 100%, but it isn’t hurting his play.

Brandon JenningsSecond quarter
The Milwaukee Bucks were outscored 6-2 in the first six minutes to start the second quarter, largely due to Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings resting on the bench. Whatever positives Keyon Dooling and Jon Brockman bring to the table (which right now are still under review) it’s clear that the bench still has a number of things to work on as a unit.

Highlight: At one point, Corey Maggette promptly launched an errant 18 foot jump shot. Jennings grabbed the rebound and quickly flicked it back out the slashing Maggette, who was fouled and hit both free throws. The lesson here is that Maggette can be a chucker at times, and that probably will never go away no matter how much he changes in Scott Skiles’ system.

Third quarter
Capped by an 11-0 run that started at the 4:39 mark, the Milwaukee Bucks shot 9-17 (52.9%) in the third quarter to pull ahead of the Bobcats for good. Carlos Delfino pitched in a couple threes, Brandon Jennings added a couple baskets, rebounds, and assists, and Andrew Bogut tacked on a couple free throws and two blocks in what was unquestionably the Bucks’ best offensive quarter of the season to date (coincidentally without Corey Maggette).

Highlight: Carlos Delfino led the team with 10 points in the third quarter, including two threes and couple mid-range jumpers. Delfino has been the Bucks’ biggest jump shooting asset after three games, and it really helped to open up the floor for Brandon Jennings and the rest of the Milwaukee offense.

Fourth quarter
The Milwaukee Bucks scored one less point than the Charlotte Bobcats in the fourth quarter (26-25), but dominated the rebounding battle 11-4 and scored 10 points in the paint. Milwaukee’s on-court lineup was occupied by returning players from the 2009-10 season from the last half of the quarter on, and part of that decision was made based on the confidence in a group that was already familiar with the team and system.

Highlight: Brandon Jennings received a much deserved ovation for his triple double performance, which was capped off by a fitting dish to Delfino for a corner three. It certainly helps a developing point guard to have so many veteran scoring options, that’s for sure.

This win was as close as the third game of the NBA regular season can be to a “must win,” as the Bucks will face Portland at home on Tuesday before heading out to Boston on Wednesday. But by putting together their most promising game of the season against a fairly decent team, Milwaukee is in a much better position to upset or challenge these perennial Western Conference playoff teams.

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