BOSTON - Scott Skiles really couldn't be happier with the play of his team in its convincing season-opening win over the Boston Celtics on Friday night.
"We were aggressive on both ends. We were very competitive, we were quick to loose balls and overall played very well," the Bucks coach said after the Milwaukee Bucks belted the Celtics 99-88 in Boston's home opener.
Brandon Jennings scored 21 points and had 13 assists and six steals as the Bucks led by as many as 22 in sending the Celtics to their second defeat in as many games.
The final score really wasn't an indicator of the difference between these two teams on this night. The Bucks used a 9-0 spurt to take 27-18 lead 32 seconds into the second quarter and were never headed. Boston made a run here and there but every time the Celtics moved the Bucks responded.
Milwaukee's 9-0 fourth-quarter run sent much of the unhappy crowd heading for the exits. The Bucks led by 22 with 3:13 left before Jason Terry, making his home regular season debut with his new team, scored eight of his 10 points down the stretch to make it respectable.
"Give Milwaukee credit, they outplayed us," Terry said. "You gotta get down and get up, but I guarantee you one thing, we will come out fighting tomorrow (at Washington Saturday night).
Jennings was the start of this game, which ended Milwaukee's six-game losing streak against Boston.
"Playing a team like Boston you have to be aggressive, or (if you're not) they'll just take over the game right away," he said. "Our whole goal was just to come out aggressive. Me, I just wanted to attack (Rajon) Rondo more on the defensive end, make him work, because I knew he would do the same to me on the (other) end."
Skiles said his team caught a break when Paul Pierce picked up his third foul with 4:47 left in the first half. Pierce had a dreadful night, not scoring a basket until late in the third quarter and finishing 3-for-11 from the floor and with 11 points.
Tobias Harris had 18 points and Monta Ellis had 14 despite 6-for-20 shooting for Milwaukee. The Bucks placed six players in double figures and got 11 rebounds from Ersan Ilyasova.
Kevin Garnett, who tried to keep his team in the game with an offensive burst at the start of the second half, led the Celtics with 15 points, while Rondo had 14 points and 11 assists, his 26th consecutive game with double-digit assists.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers clearly wasn't pleased. His team gave up 120 points in losing its opener at Miami and played defense only in spurts Friday night.
Asked after a game if he wanted to start his comments with the struggling defense, Rivers said, "Yeah, yeah. But I thought the offense was bad, too."
"I thought we fumbled. I thought we had no rhythm."
Rivers said he's concerned about the play of his team, which has many new faces, but noted it's early, saying, "If this was Game 30 and we were playing like this consistently, then I would be worried. If it was Game 30 and we'd been playing well and we play like this once, you live with it."
Skiles said the win is great, but it will lose some meaning if the Bucks go home and lose their home opener to the Cavaliers on Sunday night. Jennings agreed.
"It feels good, but we've got one tomorrow," he said. "This won't mean anything if we don't take of business tomorrow night at home.
The Bucks went 8-for-18 from 3-point range in the win.
NOTES: Both teams had 18 turnovers each. ... Rondo addressed the crowd before the opening tipoff, thanking the fans for their support "As we go on our quest to get (championship) banner 18." ... Marquis Daniels, who played the last three seasons with Boston, returned with his new team. "He was a great professional for us. He was terrific," Rivers said before the game. Daniels views his new address as "Another good opportunity for me." Daniels logged 9:37 off the bench was 0-for-5 in a scoreless effort. ... The Celtics' game in Washington opens a home-and-home set that concludes in Boston Wednesday. ... The Celtics' nightly 50-50 raffle donated all of its proceeds Friday night to the Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. ... Spotted in the crowd: David Ortiz, who reportedly signed a new contract with the Red Sox on Friday, Larry David and Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte.