Leuer helps Bucks hold off Timberwolves 98-95

It’s far too early to bestow star status on Milwaukee Bucks

rookie Jon Leuer.

He’s not off to a bad start, though.

The second-round pick out of Wisconsin converted a three-point

play with 1:17 left, helping the Bucks hold off the Minnesota

Timberwolves for a 98-95 victory in their home opener Tuesday


Leuer was cheered loudly in pregame introductions, and it only

got better from there.

”That’s the Badger love, I guess, a little bit,” Leuer said.

”They were great fans for me my four years at Wisconsin, so I’m

glad I get to keep playing for them.”

Leuer finished the game with 14 points on 5 for 7 shooting and

had eight rebounds. Bucks center Andrew Bogut joked that he might

start losing some minutes.

”Jon was great,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. ”I probably

should have played him more last night. He’s earned his minutes out


Brandon Jennings scored 24 points and Stephen Jackson added 16

for the Bucks, who were playing without forward Drew Gooden because

of a suspension and several other key players because of


Kevin Love had 31 points and 20 rebounds, repeatedly finding his

way to the free throw line for the Timberwolves.

”We just dug ourselves a hole we shouldn’t have been in,” Love

said. ”We turned the ball over too much and they made some


Minnesota was without coach Rick Adelman, who was attending

funeral services for his mother-in-law. Assistant Terry Porter, a

former head coach in Milwaukee, filled in.

The Timberwolves were sloppy on offense at times, with 25


”We tried to do some things, go for the home-run passes a

couple of times,” Porter said. ”We just didn’t do a good enough

job offensively executing our set.”

Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio had six points, four assists,

three turnovers and three steals in 27-plus minutes.

”We were 20 down, so we started playing harder and trying to

control the game,” Rubio said. ”And we did, but it was too


Milwaukee led by 10 after a pair of free throws by Jennings, but

Luke Ridnour hit a long jumper and Michael Beasley hit a 3-pointer

to cut the Bucks’ lead to 94-89 with just under three minutes


Andrew Bogut fouled out with 2:08 left, sending Love to the

line. He hit one of two free throws to cut the lead to four.

After a miss by Jennings, Beasley hit a jumper to cut the lead

to two with 1:42 left.

On a chaotic possession for the Bucks, Leuer took a pass from

Jennings and went up strong to the basket.

The ball went in as Leuer was fouled, and the second-round pick

out of Wisconsin hit the free throw to complete the three-point

play and put the Bucks up 97-92 with 1:17 left.

”It’s good to have not only a rookie, but a center who can back

me up and we don’t lose too much,” Bogut said. ”He shoots the

ball very well, he’s very efficient offensively. Defensively, he’s

always in the right spots.”

Free throws helped the Timberwolves cut the lead to 98-95, and

they had the ball with 7.2 seconds left. But Love missed a 3-point


Milwaukee had a 20-point lead with just under seven minutes left

in the third quarter but went cold from there, and it began to look

as if they might blow the lead – just like they did in Monday

night’s season opener at Charlotte.

”We know we need to play better than that,” Skiles said.

The undermanned Bucks won despite a huge night from Love.

The Timberwolves’ big man made a living at the free throw line

against a depleted Bucks defense in the first quarter, drawing

whistle after whistle and forcing Skiles to keep rotating through

frontcourt players getting in foul trouble.

Love shot 15 free throws in the first quarter alone, hitting 13

– and drawing the ire of Skiles, who was called for a technical

foul with 1:22 left in the quarter after yet another call went

Love’s way.

”He’s a monster, definitely,” Leuer said. ”But we contained

him enough the second half.”

Bogut said he was surprised to see Love draw so many calls.

”Yeah, definitely,” Bogut said. ”Without getting a fine here,

it was tough. It was one of those games where nothing went our


The Bucks came into Tuesday’s game short-handed in the

frontcourt and expecting a handful from the Timberwolves.

Gooden was suspended for Tuesday night’s game after committing a

flagrant foul in the Bucks’ season-opening loss at Charlotte on

Monday night.

Beyond that, Bucks defensive stopper Luc Richard Mbah a Moute

remained sidelined by tendinitis in his right knee, while Carlos

Delfino (sprained right wrist) and first-round rookie Tobias Harris

(dehyrdation) also sat out Tuesday.

NOTES: Bogut had 15 points and nine rebounds before fouling out.

… The Bucks were 2 for 16 from 3-point range. … Minnesota

outrebounded Milwaukee 54-45.