MILWAUKEE (AP) — When a rookie praises a veteran, it might be self-serving. Brandon Jennings’ description of Andrew Bogut was right on.
Bogut scored a season-high 22 points and had eight rebounds to help the Milwaukee Bucks beat the New York Knicks 102-87 on Saturday night.
“Bogut was on fire,” said Jennings, drafted 10th overall in June. “He’s been playing real well. We need that every night from him. Now that Michael Redd is down, he’s picking up the scoring a little for us, and that’s helping us out a lot.”
Redd is expected to miss two weeks because of a strained tendon in his left knee.
The Bucks (3-2) lost the opening tip, but nothing else as Milwaukee shot 74 percent and used a 23-2 surge to pull away. The Bucks led 40-22 after the first quarter.
“Then they just went on a stretch where they made everything,” Chris Duhon said. “Once you give a team four or five open shots, then they start making tough shots and it just weighs on you. We just got to figure out a way to start off better.
The scoring burst clearly surprised the Knicks.
“I think we were all stunned,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I’ve taken a licking before, but I don’t know what’s worse that that.”
A missing defense, perhaps.
“They kept giving us a lot of open shots,” Jennings said. “They were giving us so many easy shots.”
Duhon was struggling so bad that D’Antoni took him out.
“He had every right to take me out,” Duhon said after scoring one point on 0-for-4 shooting in 20 minutes.
Duhon was asked if there was something wrong with the team.
“I don’t know,” he said. “We just got to continue to figure it out. It’s just one of those things where we’re struggling in many ways. The only way you can get out of it is just fighting through it.”
Bogut played his best game so far this season after a lower back injury sent him to the bench last January. He had 17 points and 10 rebounds against the Wolves on Friday.
“Physically I’m 100 percent,” Bogut said after shooting 8 for 14 in 31 minutes of action. “It’s more of getting that mental rhythm back of the NBA game, the travel, the back-to-backs, get used to that again. Otherwise, I feel fine.”
Jodie Meeks, Milwaukee’ second-round pick in June, whose previous best was six points, had 19 points, and Jennings, who had just nine points in the Bucks’ 87-72 victory at Minnesota on Friday night, added 17 points.
David Lee had 18 points and seven rebounds for New York (1-6).
Toney Douglas added 16 points for New York, Danilo Gallinari had 15 and Larry Hughes 14. Al Harrington, the Knicks’ leading scorer with 22.3 points a game, was 1 of 7 for five points.
Bucks coach Scott Skiles liked what he saw overall.
“The first half was obviously as well as we’ve played very sharp on the defensive end against a team that is very difficult to guard, offense was good,” he said. “We came out with a ton of energy and really played hard and, in effect, won the game in the first half, which is very difficult to do in the NBA.”
NOTES: The Knicks opened the 2002-03 with a 1-8 record and finished fifth in the Atlantic with a 37-45 mark. … Bucks had 22 points in the paint in the first quarter while the Knicks had 4. … The Bucks shot 60 percent (27-45) in the first half to the Knicks’ 34.2 percent (13-38) and outrebounded New York 28-13 behind Bogut’s eight rebounds and Hakim Warrick’s 5. … Milwaukee’s Ersan Ilyasova had a career-high 13 rebounds. … Before the game, D’Antoni make comparisons between Jennings who was still on the board when New York chose Hill. “It’s too early to make an assessment,” D’Antoni said, but then added about Jennings, “We knew he was good.” … The Bucks (3-2) are the only team in the NBA to hold all of their opponents to under 100 points.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.