Published December 18, 2012
MILWAUKEE – Mike Dunleavy missed the previous seven games because of a bruised left knee. The way he played Tuesday night, it was hard to tell.
Dunleavy scored 17 points off the bench, including grabbing a key rebound and scoring on a putback after missing a 3-pointer with 1:35 left, to help the Milwaukee Bucks hold off the Indiana Pacers 98-93.
"It was nice to have him back," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "It didn't seem like he had been out. He's not known for being a great athlete. He is really long and he has a really great basketball set. When he is around the rim, usually something good happens."
Dunleavy said it just felt good to be back on the court and to contribute to a win against a Central Division rival.
"I felt very comfortable out there," said Dunleavy, who hit 3 of 5 3-pointers. "I feel like my condition is a little bit down, but I felt good. I hate missing games, but it's good to be back and good to get a win."
The other star of the game for Milwaukee was Brandon Jennings, who scored 34 points, grabbed five rebounds and handed out six assists.
Jennings scored 13 points in the fourth quarter.
"Brandon was good from the get-go," Dunleavy said. "He made big shots and very big plays. That's why he's Brandon."
Skiles played Jennings 44 minutes even though the Bucks play at Memphis on Wednesday.
"We needed him out there," Skiles said. "He was somebody out there knocking down shots. We needed him in the game."
Monta Ellis added 19 points for Milwaukee, which won for the fifth time in the last six games, despite being outrebounded 51-37.
The loss snapped Indiana's four-game winning streak. The Pacers had won 9 of 13 entering the contest against the Bucks.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel was satisfied with his team's effort, no the execution.
"We competed our tails off," he said. "We had a tough night shooting the basketball. We turned the ball over too much. We have to take care of the ball better."
Pacers center Roy Hibbert, who sustained a deep thigh bruise in the first half of Indiana's 86-77 win over Detroit Saturday, was back in the starting lineup Tuesday. He was held to eight points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes of playing time.
He was disappointed the Pacers had lost the first two games of the season series to Milwaukee.
"We wanted to have this win, but we have to win the next two against the Bucks at our place," he said.
Jennings scored four straight points midway through the fourth quarter to give the Bucks an 89-85 lead with 4:10 remaining.
Paul George drove the lane for Indiana for a dunk to cut the lead to two, but Jennings responded with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 3:30 remaining to give the Bucks a 92-87 lead.
David West hit one of two free throws, but Dunleavy rebounded his own miss and scored to give Milwaukee a 94-88 lead with 1:35 remaining.
George Hill hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 94-91 with 1:17 remaining. Jennings then drove the lane and scored with 1 minute left to boost the lead to 96-91 and the Bucks held on for the win.
The Pacers were hurt by 20 turnovers.
NOTES: Pacers guard Lance Stephenson who missed the last two games with a sprained right ankle, was back in the starting lineup. ... The Bucks were without center Joel Przybilla, who was suspended by the NBA for one game for throwing a ball that hit a referee Saturday. ... Bucks guard Beno Udrich missed his ninth straight game with a right ankle injury. Skiles said Udrich was improving, but still "had a way to go" before he would be ready to return to action.