MILWAUKEE -- Monta Ellis had 21 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Milwaukee Bucks squandered a big lead but held on for a 102-95 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Brandon Jennings, Ellis' backcourt mate, led the Bucks with 24 points and added seven assists. Samuel Dalembert had 16 points, and J.J. Redick finished with 14.
Wesley Matthews paced the Blazers with 28 points -- 20 of them coming in the second half. He hit seven of 11 3-point attempts. LaMarcus Aldrige added 21 points and 15 rebounds.
Milwaukee (34-32) won its second in a row thanks to a 31-8 second quarter, highlighted by a 16-0 run that helped transform a four-point game after one quarter into a 27-point lead at the half.
The Trail Blazers shot 2-for-20 in the second period. They finally got on the board in the quarter when Hickson hit two free throws with 6:03 left. Aldrige had a tip-in with 3:56 left for Portland's first field goal of the quarter.
Portland opened the second half with a 12-2 run. The Blazers cut the lead to 15 points on Matthews' 3-pointer with 5:41 remaining in the third but missed six straight shots late in the quarter, and Milwaukee led 77-57 heading into the fourth.
The late surge continued for the Blazers in the final quarter. With just under five minutes to play, the Bucks' led shrank to just 10 after Matthews' 24-foot 3-pointer. A Matthews steal and dunk cut it to 91-83, but Jennings connected on a 3-pointer to extend Milwaukee's lead back to 11.
Matthews got the Blazers within seven on a 3-pointer with 1:33 left, but Portland couldn't close the gap further. The Blazers lost for the second consecutive night, having fallen 101-100 at Philadelphia on Monday.
NOTES: In their previous three games, the Bucks were outscored in the paint by an average of 54.0-39.3 points per game. On Tuesday, Milwaukee held a 42-38 advantage on inside scoring. ... Portland head coach Terry Stotts was an assistant with Milwaukee from 1998-2002 and the Bucks' head coach from 2005-07. ... Milwaukee is averaging 26.2 assists per game since Feb. 23. ... Milwaukee big man Ersan Ilyasova, who suffered a hip injury Sunday against Orlando, missed the game and will likely not travel to Atlanta on Wednesday. The Bucks were also without Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who missed his fifth straight game with a toe injury.