MILWAUKEE (AP) - As a rookie, Brandon Jennings had a 55-point game. He topped that impressive outing Saturday.
Jennings notched his first career triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the Milwaukee Bucks' 98-88 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats in their home opener on Saturday night.
``This is my best game since I've been in the NBA just the fact that I had a nose for the ball and I was being unselfish and I was everywhere,' said Jennings, who had 55 points in his seventh game as a rookie last year. ``I was being a floor general tonight.'
Andrew Bogut added 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in his first game that counted back the Bradley Center since dislocating his right elbow, spraining his wrist and breaking his hand in an ugly fall in April.
``I'm trying to get more confidence in my arm. I'm not entirely overly confident with where I think it needs to be, but it's going to take some time,' Bogut said. ``It still hurts to shoot.'
The 7-footer has said previously it may take a full year for him to be 100 percent.
With Bogut, the 21-year-old Jennings was free to roam and make plays for Milwaukee's first win in the matchup of 0-2 Eastern Conference playoff teams from last season.
Charlotte's sloppy start to the season continued. After committing 38 turnovers in the first two games, the Bobcats added 18 more in the first of a three-game road trip.
``It's not panic time,' said Stephen Jackson, who had 23 points for the Bobcats. ``I've been playing 11 years and three games is nothing to panic about. The biggest thing is our younger guys are starting to come around. They're getting experience. We don't want to get 0-10. We've got to let this game go.'
Milwaukee got 23 points from Carlos Delfino, who hugged Jennings at center court after the game, and 14 from John Salmons.
D.J. Augustin scored 26 points and gave the Bobcats their only lead with a 3-pointer midway through the second quarter, but Milwaukee quickly took the lead back and went ahead 73-62 after the third quarter.
The only real drama would be if Jennings would reach the mark he nearly accomplished in his first game as a pro when he was an assist and a rebound short.
``Dan Gadzuric, he took a rebound from me and then he missed a layup on the other end,' Jennings joked. ``That's why I came up short a little bit last year, but this year I finally got it.'
The charismatic point guard got his 10th rebound with 5:23 to play and the 10th assist less than a minute later on Delfino's 3-pointer that made it 88-76. The Bobcats answered with a 7-0 run, but Jennings hit a 3 and Delfino made a scoop shot that kept Charlotte from coming closer down the stretch.
``He played an all-around game, he was grabbing rebounds, he was vocal, he was chasing guys over screens. He's the reason why we won. We needed a couple of buckets late in the game, and he knocked them down,' Bogut said.
Jennings had Milwaukee's first triple-double since Ramon Sessions did it on April 1, 2009, in a loss to the Lakers.
The Bobcats had five turnovers in less than nine minutes to start the game and the frustration appears to be mounting after making the playoffs for the first time in its six-year franchise history with 44 wins last season.
``We just got to stay positive. It's a long season,' Augustin said.
Milwaukee won 46 games and made the postseason, too, but didn't have Bogut after the eye-averting fall ended his season early. He had a hard two-handed slam early in this game and pulled himself up on the rim that was vaguely reminiscent of the one that caused his awkward fall.
Bogut landed firmly on his feet with the injury was far from his mind.
``I didn't even think about it,' Bogut said. ``I'm not thinking about it at all.'
NOTES: The Bucks are 11-1 against Charlotte in Milwaukee all-time. ... It was the second triple-double of the NBA season after Rajon Rondo had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 24 assists in a win on Friday night over the Knicks. ...There was a video tribute to Bango, who was named NBA mascot of the year for his high flying antics last season. He received a trophy with a golden ball atop it and got a hug from Bango Jr. Kevin Vanderkolk wears the costume. ... It was the first regular season game with the Bradley Center's new $3.4 million scoreboard, and fans could clearly read the lips of a frustrated coach Larry Brown when a shot by Jackson wasn't counted after the halftime buzzer.
The Associated Press News Service
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