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Bucks stop Suns with new coach

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MILWAUKEE (AP) - Brandon Jennings scored 29 points and the Milwaukee Bucks gave Jim Boylan a win in his first game as coach with a 108-99 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.

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The Bucks parted ways with coach Scott Skiles on Monday in what was called a mutual decision, and the Bucks tapped Skiles' top assistant Boylan as a replacement. Milwaukee's new head coach said before the game his top priority would be to get the Bucks playing well again after losing four consecutive games.

The Suns were a perfect opponent, playing poorly in the last few weeks with nine losses in the last 10 games overall to go with a nine-game losing streak on the road.

Jennings, who before the game said he was frustrated that he learned of the coaching change from Skiles himself instead of someone from the Bucks organization, made 9 of 15 shots and had nine assists.

Goran Dragic scored 21 points and Jared Dudley added 18 for Phoenix.

The Bucks won despite an off-night from leading scorer Monta Ellis, who missed 14 of 19 shots and committed five turnovers. Ellis finished with 13 points after coming in with a 19.4 average.

Boylan made a couple of significant changes in his first game at the helm, inserting forward Ersan Ilyasova into the starting lineup and giving more minutes to rookie forward John Henson, the team's first-round draft pick.

Ilyasova had 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes. Henson had 12 points and 11 rebounds in 19 minutes.

Milwaukee took control with a 12-3 run that spanned the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarters. Beno Udrih had four points in the spurt and hit a 17-foot jumper with 8 minutes left to give the Bucks a 90-79 lead.

Phoenix pulled to 95-91 on a pair of free throws by Dragic with 3:49 left, but Henson scored on a dunk and Mike Dunleavy made a driving layup to extend the Milwaukee lead to 99-91 with 2:45 remaining. Phoenix never seriously threatened the rest of the game.

The Bucks used a 13-0 run, keyed by a pair of 3-pointers from Jennings and four points from Ilyasova, to open a 71-66 lead with 4:57 left in the third quarter.

Luis Scola's baseline jumper tied it at 71, but Ellis drove the lane for a basket that gave Milwaukee the lead for good, 73-71, with 3:34 left in the third.

Marcin Gortat scored 14 points in the first half, and the Suns led 56-50 at halftime.

Phoenix shot well and rebounded strongly in the first quarter, making 64 percent of its shots for a 33-26 lead after one quarter. The Suns, though, missed their first nine shots of the second quarter.

Notes: Bucks GM John Hammond said before the game he and the team were talking about a contract extension. . The ball stopped motionless at the back of the Phoenix rim - not stuck - with 9:24 to go in the second quarter, prompting wide grins from the Suns bench. Milwaukee won the ensuing jump ball. . This is the second time Boylan has succeeded Skiles midseason. He took over the Chicago Bulls when Skiles was fired on Christmas Eve in 2007. . The teams meet again Jan. 17 in Phoenix.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
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