Minnesota at Milwaukee

Leuer clutch as Bucks edge Wolves

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- 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 night.

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 there."

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 injuries.

Kevin Love had 31 points and 20 rebounds, repeatedly finding his way to the free throw line for the Timberwolves.

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"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 shots."

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 turnovers.

"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 late."

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 left.

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 attempt.

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 way."

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.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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The Bucks' Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings combine for 39 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the win. (AP)
The Bucks' Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings combine for 39 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the win. (AP)
Scoreboard
Minnesota (0-2)3018202795
Milwaukee (1-1) «3228191998
MIN:K. Love 31 Pts
MIN:K. Love 20 Reb
MIN:J. Barea 4 Ast
MIL:B. Jennings 24 Pts
MIL:A. Bogut 9 Reb
MIL:M. Dunleavy 8 Ast
Players of the Game
MinnesotaMilwaukee

Kevin Love

Brandon Jennings
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
311822446

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Minnesota
K. Love, PF406-1819-24202131
L. Ridnour, PG347-101-203417
W. Johnson, SG313-90-04018
M. Beasley, PF256-132-670415
D. Milicic, C242-40-09064
R. Rubio, PG272-32-33436
A. Tolliver, PF210-12-23022
J. Barea, PG191-96-63419
D. Williams, PF191-31-25123
B. Miller, CDid Not Play
M. Webster, SGDid Not Play
A. Randolph, PFDid Not Play
N. Pekovic, CDid Not Play
M. Lee, SGDid Not Play
W. Ellington, SGDid Not Play
G. Stiemsma, CDid Not Play
Totals 28-7033-4554142495
 40.0%73.3% 
Milwaukee
S. Jackson, SF367-201-352416
B. Jennings, PG367-149-1037024
M. Dunleavy, SF322-91-15835
A. Bogut, C317-201-293615
E. Ilyasova, SF253-50-06056
S. Livingston, PG242-60-00224
J. Leuer, PF205-74-481314
B. Udrih, PG164-60-01118
L. Sanders, PF162-50-06034
J. Brockman, PF51-20-02012
D. Gooden, PFDid Not Play
C. Delfino, SGDid Not Play
L. Mbah a Moute, SFDid Not Play
D. Hobson, SGDid Not Play
T. Harris, SFDid Not Play
Totals 40-9416-2045242898
 42.6%80.0% 
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