MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Bucks had to hold back a strong rally after pulling off one of their own two days earlier.
Milwaukee rallied from an 11-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter Sunday against Orlando and went on to a 115-109 victory over the visiting Magic.
"That's been our main concern," said Ellis, who was hit hard on his left hand late in the game but said X-rays were negative. "We just wanted to come out with a lot of energy. We didn't want to play with this team and try to climb back like we had to do [Sunday]. They made a run, which this is the NBA. But we were able to close the game out."
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Ellis added nine rebounds, eight assists, three steals and matched a career high with three blocks for Milwaukee, which outscored Portland 31-8 in the second quarter.
The Blazers finished with their fewest points in any period this season after shooting a woeful 2 for 20 from the field to go with six turnovers in the quarter. It was also the lowest total the Bucks gave up in any quarter.
The Bucks took a 58-31 lead into halftime before Portland fought back with 64 second-half points to make things interesting.
So what did Portland coach Terry Stotts say at halftime?
"I said go out there and play your butt off like you usually do and see what happens," Stotts said. "Twenty seven is a big hole. On the road, it is a bigger hole. I didn't know how the second half was going to go."
Wesley Matthews hit a career high seven 3-pointers and scored 28 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who lost for the 10th time in their last 11 road games.
"If you are going to come back from 27 down, how many times is that going to happen?" Matthews said. "We just put our heads down and we fought. We did what we were supposed to do to start the game in the second half and gave ourselves a chance."
Nicolas Batum hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to cut Milwaukee's lead to 96-88 with 2:36 to play and Matthews added another to get Portland within 100-93 with 1:33 remaining, but Aldridge lost the ball in the paint on the Blazers' next possession.
Portland missed its next two 3-point attempts before Jennings sank two free throws with 26.2 seconds to play to seal it.
"Maybe fatigue for us, I don't know," Milwaukee coach Jim Boylan said. "We weren't quite as sharp defensively. We had been pretty good for most of the game. But then they started finding some spots and getting free, we were scrambling around a little bit, and they took advantage. They made shots. They made some good shots, some tough ones."
Milwaukee opened the second quarter with a 16-0 run, while Portland missed its first 10 shots of the period. The Bucks held a 27-23 lead when J.J. Redick hit a 3-pointer and added two free throws before Mike Dunleavy's 3 gave them a 35-23 lead.
Three of Milwaukee's next four baskets were layups, including one by Gustavo Ayon that capped the 16-0 run and gave the Bucks a 43-23 lead with 6:40 remaining in the half.
It took until 6:03 remained for Portland to finally score on two free throws by J.J. Hickson. Aldridge's tip-in with 3:56 to go was Portland's first made basket in the second.
It was so bad for Portland, Hickson accidentally threw the ball off Matthews trying to save it from going out of bounds with about 2:40 left and Matthews' baseline dunk attempt was blocked by Ellis with 46 seconds left.
Portland scored 12 of the first 14 points of the third quarter to get the deficit down to 60-43 on a layup by Batum with 8:35 to play, but a 3-pointer by Redick capped a 12-3 run that gave the Bucks a 77-57 lead with 4.5 seconds left.
"When guys are hitting shots all around, it makes everything much easier," Ellis said. "That's how we got the big lead, sharing the ball. Everybody was in a groove, everybody was feeling good."
|Monta Ellis fills the stat sheet as he puts up 21 points, nine boards, eight dimes, three steals and three blocks. (Getty Images)|
|Milwaukee (34-32) «||27||31||19||25||102|
|POR:W. Matthews 28 Pts
POR:L. Aldridge 15 Reb
POR:D. Lillard 11 Ast
|MIL:B. Jennings 24 Pts
MIL:L. Sanders 13 Reb
MIL:M. Ellis 8 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|D. Lillard, PG||45||2-10||4-4||3||11||3||8|
|L. Aldridge, PF||43||10-21||1-2||15||3||2||21|
|W. Matthews, SG||43||10-20||1-3||2||3||1||28|
|N. Batum, SF||41||6-12||0-0||3||4||2||15|
|J. Hickson, PF||30||3-8||2-2||11||2||1||8|
|L. Babbitt, SF||13||3-4||0-0||2||1||2||9|
|E. Maynor, PG||9||0-3||0-0||1||0||0||0|
|M. Leonard, C||6||1-2||0-0||1||0||2||2|
|J. Freeland, PF||5||1-1||0-0||1||0||0||2|
|W. Barton, SG||5||0-2||2-2||1||0||1||2|
|J. Jeffries, PF||Did Not Play|
|S. Pavlovic, SG||Did Not Play|
|N. Smith, PG||Did Not Play|
|V. Claver, SF||Did Not Play|
|E. Williams, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|M. Ellis, PG||44||8-18||3-6||9||8||2||21|
|L. Sanders, C||40||4-9||0-0||13||3||2||8|
|B. Jennings, PG||39||9-20||2-2||4||7||2||24|
|S. Dalembert, C||20||8-14||0-0||7||1||1||16|
|M. Daniels, SG||17||2-3||0-0||1||2||0||4|
|M. Dunleavy, SF||27||4-9||0-0||4||3||0||9|
|J. Redick, SG||26||4-8||4-5||0||3||1||14|
|E. Udoh, PF||20||2-5||0-0||3||0||2||4|
|G. Ayon, PF||6||1-1||0-0||2||2||2||2|
|J. Przybilla, C||Did Not Play|
|D. Gooden, PF||Did Not Play|
|E. Ilyasova, SF||Did Not Play|
|L. Mbah a Moute, SF||Did Not Play|
|I. Smith, PG||Did Not Play|
|J. Henson, PF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|