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Jennings guides Bucks to best start since 2001 with win over Bobcats

MILWAUKEE -- Bucks coach Scott Skiles rarely gives glowing compliments. Even he's having a tough time containing his excitement for rookie Brandon Jennings.

"You'd be hard pressed to find a rookie's first 10 games better than this," Skiles said. "Maybe somebody has, but he's had as good a 10-game start as anybody I've been aware of in my 20-plus years in the league."

Jennings scored 29 points to lead Milwaukee to a 95-88 victory over Charlotte on Friday night, with minority owner Michael Jordan on hand to witness his Bobcats drop their seventh straight.

Jennings had no idea Jordan was in the crowd until late in the game, when the Hall of Famer appeared on the JumboTron. By that point, Jennings had already put on quite a show.

"I was wondering who everybody was clapping for, so I had to peek up there a little bit during the timeout and there he was," Jennings said.

Milwaukee (7-3) is off to its best start since 2001 and finished its homestand 5-1 even though the Bucks were missing guard Michael Redd (sprained left knee) and center Andrew Bogut (strained left leg).

"We deserve to be winning games right now," Jennings said. "Michael Redd should be back Wednesday, so that'll give us another piece, which I'm really happy he'll be back to take the pressure off me a little bit."

Seems like the 20-year-old is handling the pressure just fine between the crush of national media interviews and the constant physical play he's faced so far.

Jennings models his game after Allen Iverson. Bobcats coach Larry Brown, who coached Iverson, believes they share a few of the same qualities.

"Allen is more of a scoring guard. [Jennings] is more of a combo guard. But they both love the game. They both play with a passion, so that's a nice thing to be saying," Brown said. "If he continues like this and has the kind of career Allen has, that would be pretty special."

Jennings will take his show on the road during a four-game road trip that starts against Memphis, the team Iverson briefly played for before the sides mutually parted ways this week.

"First road trip, we're going to try to go in and get all the wins we can," said Jennings, who was disappointed he won't play against Iverson. "I really can't wait until it's over. It's going to be a long week."

Jennings has already had a long week after he became the youngest player in NBA history to score at least 50 with his 55-point effort in a win over the Warriors on Saturday night.

He's averaging 25.2 points and has reached double figures in all but one game, when he scored nine. Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, averaged 27.8 points over his first 10 games as a rookie with Milwaukee.

Jennings' lone problem had been turnovers, but Jennings only committed two and his three offensive rebounds were more than the entire Charlotte team, which had two.

"He's got a great deal of confidence in his game," Bobcats guard Raymond Felton said. "He's pretty much doing everything."

Stephen Jackson, in town for the second time in seven days after being traded from the Warriors to the Bobcats, scored 22 points in his third game with his new team. Gerald Wallace added 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Flip Murray had 17 points for Charlotte.

"This was one of the first times we actually shot pretty good from the field," Wallace said. "[But we] missed 17 free throws. We're at this point right now where we dig ourselves out of one hole and end up finding ourselves off in another hole."

Milwaukee's Hakim Warrick had 16 points and Ersan Ilyasova chipped in 13.

The Bobcats (3-9) went on an 8-0 run early in the fourth and cut it to 93-85 with just over two minutes to go on a layup by Boris Diaw, but Murray missed two free throws and Jackson missed a 3-pointer to keep Charlotte from getting closer than the final margin.

Jordan, a managing partner in the franchise who oversees the team's personnel decisions, watched intently from about five rows beyond Charlotte's bench.

For his part, Jackson seems happier with his new team.

"The team has accepted me with open arms so everything is good on that part, I just think as far as us coming together and figuring out how hard we've got to play to win games is the biggest thing right now," he said. "Had we played like we played in the fourth quarter all game, we would have won."

Game notes
Brown tied Pat Riley for fifth-most NBA games coached at 1,904. Brown has coached 2,239 pro games when combining his ABA experience. ... Bogut is expected out two to four weeks. ... Bucks F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (sprained left foot) is in a walking boot. He said before the game he's day-to-day, but likely will not play against Memphis.