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Jennings has 24 points, lead Bucks past Pistons

Nov 1, 2009 - 9:01 AM MILWAUKEE(AP) -- Rookie Brandon Jennings turned up the energy when the Milwaukee Bucks needed it most.

Jennings scored 21 of his 24 points in the second half, Hakim Warrick added 21 off the bench to help the Bucks win their home opener Saturday night, 96-85 over the Detroit Pistons.

Bucks coach Scott Skiles, known to be cautious with his praise, clearly liked what Jennings did in just his second NBA game.

"He came out in the third quarter and gave us a huge lift," Skiles said. "(He) got in the zone there for a little while and once again showed you another element of his game."

Jennings shot 9 of 16, had three assists and three steals, including a key steal down the stretch that enabled the Bucks to push their lead to 95-83 with 1:07 left.

"(He) got his team going, too, which is, as or more important," Skiles said. "We see a lot in the Cousins Center. We've seen him do a lot of things."

Doing it at the Bucks' practice facility is one thing, but on the home court against a team that has dominated Milwaukee is another.

The Pistons had won nine of 11 against the Bucks, including five of six at the Bradley Center before Jennings, Warrick and the reserves went to work.

Detroit led 49-38 at the half and looked headed to their second victory of the season. That was before Skiles changed up the game plan to free up Jennings and everybody else.

"We went into our pick-and-roll game where we just spread the floor and let him go to work," Skiles said. "And, he went to work."

So did the Bucks' reserves who outscored the Pistons' bench 52-14.

"We were working on cutting the lead down as much as possible, but it wasn't just me," Jennings said. "I thought everyone contributed well in the third quarter to go on a nice little run."

Trailing 49-38, the Bucks opened the third with a 28-8 run sparked by Jennings' 16 points and two steals and Warrick's six. They led 66-57 with 2:14 to go in the quarter.

"We gave them life in the third period," Pistons coach John Kuester said. "We've got to come out with a certain amount of energy that had when we left the court, and we haven't done that the last two games."

Jennings picked up his fourth foul with two minutes left and went to the bench, but Milwaukee stayed on the attack and pushed the lead to 74-63 heading into the final period.

"We just kept chipping away at the lead and next thing you know, we had the lead and we never looked back," Jennings said.

Tayshun Prince's 11-foot jumper from the baseline pulled the Pistons to 81-77 with 5:51 to play, but Warrick made two free throws and Jennings hit a runner in the lane as the Bucks went up by eight.

Playing with five fouls over the final three minutes, Jennings darted through the Pistons' defense and kept the Bucks from failing down the stretch.

He left to a standing ovation when Skiles took him out of the game.

Ben Gordon scored 26, Rodney Stuckey 13 and added eight assists and Prince had 12 points for Detroit.

Richard Hamilton missed his second game with a sprained right ankle. He did not play in the Pistons' 91-83 loss at home to Oklahoma City on Friday. The Pistons won their opener at Memphis.

Charlie Villanueva had four points in the opening quarter in his first regular-season appearance as a Piston after spending the previous three seasons with the Bucks. He got going in the fourth quarter when he hit two 3s and a jumper and finished with 12 points. He signed as an unrestricted free agent with Detroit in July.

"We were moving the ball great in the first half," Villanueva said. "That wasn't the case in the second half."

Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut, who were brought along slowly during the preseason, returned to the Bradley Center for the first time since each sustained season-ending injuries in January that crushed the Bucks' hopes for their first playoff appearance since the 2005-06 season.

Redd, who scored 17 points Friday night, tore ligaments in his left knee against Sacramento Jan. 24. He missed the last 35 games of the season.

Redd had nine points against the Pistons, but left during the third quarter with left knee soreness. The Bucks said that taking him from the game was more of a precaution and that he was day to day.

Bogut, who missed the final 31 games with a sore lower back, had six points and eight rebounds.

NOTES: Pistons coach John Kuester said that Hamilton, who did not make the trip, was day to day. ... Bucks G/F Carlos Delfino was back after serving a one-game suspension for his role in a preseason fight with Pistons F Austin Daye. ... Last season's "American Idol" finalist Danny Gokey sang the National Anthem in front of his hometown crowd and then entertained them at halftime.