Bucks 102, Wizards 74

Even when he isn’t putting the ball in the basket himself,

Brandon Jennings knows full well he can help the Milwaukee

Bucks.

And gain some attention in the process.

Jennings’ perfect alley-oop pass from two steps across

half-court led to Andrew Bogut’s dunk that helped set the tone in

the first quarter, and the surging Bucks went on to beat the

Washington Wizards 102-74 for their eighth victory in nine

games.

“Hopefully that makes ‘Top 10’ tonight on ‘SportsCenter.’ It

was a pretty good catch,” Jennings said of his play with Bogut

midway through a 13-0 run by the Bucks. “Tonight it was clicking.

I was finding guys, and they were knocking down shots. So when

things happen like that, I guess you have a good night.”

Jennings was near the left sideline when he tossed the ball

across the court to Bogut, who went over Wizards center JaVale

McGee for the slam and came down on the 7-footer’s shoulders.

Bogut led the way with 19 points and 10 rebounds despite sitting

out the fourth quarter, and the Bucks also got 19 points from

Carlos Delfino, along with 17 from John Salmons.

Jennings’ recent shooting problems continued – he was 2 for 7

for four points – but he did have nine assists, only one fewer than

the entire Wizards team.

“That’s what we need from him,” Bogut said. “He knows we

don’t need him to score. People get on him because he’s not making

shots, but he’s running this ballclub as well as anyone has. He’s

moving the ball, and his defensive pressure has been great.”

Jennings has been shooting only slightly better than 25 percent

during Milwaukee’s recent nine-game stretch, which has pushed the

team squarely into the playoff picture. After he was 2 for 12 in

Milwaukee’s home victory over Washington on Wednesday, the rookie

guard spoke about perhaps not even wanting to shoot the ball any

more.

Bucks coach Scott Skiles gave him a bit of a talking-to about

that, saying before Friday’s game: “We’re not fond of that kind of

statement. He’s too important to our team and our franchise to have

any sort of defeatest-type mindset right now. And he doesn’t,

really.”

Jennings acknowledged his coach’s point, and called his own

comments a result of “a moment of frustration, not thinking and

just letting my anger out.” He also said he’s “always going to

keep shooting.”

“(Skiles) said it was a little bit immature and

irresponsible,” Jennings said. “You need to just play basketball

and do other things out there on the court, and that’s what I tried

to do tonight.”

The Bucks held the Wizards to season lows in points and assists.

But Washington coach Flip Saunders and some of his players placed

much of the blame squarely on the Wizards themselves.

“We’re not good enough to play 1-on-1,” said guard Mike

Miller, who scored six points.

The Wizards are a completely revamped team, one without any of

the players who rank 1-4 in scoring average this season: Gilbert

Arenas (season-ending suspension for bringing guns into the locker

room); Antawn Jamison (traded to Cleveland); Caron Butler (traded

to Dallas); Josh Howard (season-ending knee injury). Starting

center Brendan Haywood also was dealt to Dallas.

“We just didn’t compete tonight. It carried over to defense. It

carried over to offense. We had missed layups, missed shots,”

Saunders said. “We were out of sync the whole time.”

NOTES: Milwaukee led 51-36 at halftime, thanks in large part to

Bogut’s 14 points and eight rebounds. … The Wizards, somehow,

finished the first half with a grand total of only three assists.

… Skiles turned 46 on Friday, but was blase about the occasion.

“I’m not a big birthday-celebrating guy,” he said. … Before the

game, Saunders said of McGee, who has moved into the starting

lineup: “He makes glaring mistakes when he makes mistakes – not

getting back on defense and things like that.” … Saunders said

the Wizards hadn’t decided whether to keep Mike Harris, who signed

a 10-day contract last week.