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Energy level down for Wolves in loss to Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee Bucks' big lead over the Minnesota Timberwolves might have cost Carlos Delfino a triple-double.

Delfino had 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in Milwaukee's 127-94 victory over the Timberwolves on Saturday night. Coach Scott Skiles removed him from the game with 7:04 left and the Bucks leading, 108-81.

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"He probably would have gotten a triple-double if it was a close game," teammate Andrew Bogut said. "Coach kind of iced him a little bit by taking him out."

Skiles said he was not aware his starting forward was close to the mark when he pulled him from the game.

"I would leave somebody in if I felt like it was some sort of a real milestone, like a triple-double," he said. "But it's risky."

For his part, Delfino scoffed at the notion that he might have gotten a triple double if he stayed in the game, saying he was tired after playing nearly 34 minutes.

"I don't think so," he said. "I was gone."

Minnesota has lost seven of eight and 12 of 14. The Wolves dropped a 96-94 decision Friday night to New Orleans on James Posey's game-winning layup as time expired.

"Our guys aren't able to sustain the energy, focus and intensity particular after coming off tough losses," Wolves coach Kurt Rambis said. "They have a difficult time being able to muster up the energy."

The Bucks had lost six of eight games coming into the game, and Skiles called it "a must win" before the game. His team did not disappoint, leading from the first quarter on and holding a double-digit lead for most of the final three quarters.

"This was one of those nights that happens maybe a handful of times a year that everybody who steps into the game shoots the ball well," Skiles said. "That doesn't happen very often."

Delfino came into the game averaging 9.2 points, but has averaged 18.8 the past five games. He made nine of 11 shots in starting his third consecutive game.

"He's a good weapon for us when he's knocking down his shots," Skiles said.

Milwaukee rookie Brandon Jennings had 18 points and a career-high 13 assists with only one turnover.

Rookie Jonny Flynn had 20 points, and Corey Brewer added 18 for Minnesota.

Flynn said he had extra motivation playing against Jennings.

"Whenever you play against a guy like that it is almost like playing against a guy like Chris Paul or Deron Williams," Flynn said. "Guys that are so good and so crafty with the basketball, it makes you go out there and play your best game."

Milwaukee led 55-45 at halftime, then scored the first eight points of the third quarter to push it to 63-45. Delfino opened the streak with a 3-pointer, Andrew Bogut made two free throws and Jennings hit a 26-foot 3-pointer to cap the run.

"From the beginning we started playing aggressively," Delfino said. "It's about that, you know? If we are able to make those easy shots we are a different team."

Hakim Warrick had 18 points, and Bogut added 14 points for Milwaukee. Jerry Stackhouse scored 14 points in 28 minutes off the bench in his third game for Milwaukee since signing as a free agent Monday.

Kevin Love had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Wolves. Al Jefferson, Minnesota's leading scorer at 18.6 points per game, was held to nine points on four of 11 shooting.

"They jumped out on us and killed our confidence," Jefferson said.

NOTES: In the first game between the teams this season, Milwaukee's 87-72 victory on Nov. 6, Flynn outscored Jennings 20-9. ... Joe Alexander, the Bucks' first-round draft choice in 2008, had 13 points, six rebounds and five assists in his first D-League game Friday night for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Alexander missed the Bucks' first 41 games because of a strained right hamstring.

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Pioneer staff reports
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