MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks won 'ugly' in a matchup of short-handed teams — and that's just fine with Brandon Jennings.
Jennings scored 19 points, Monta Ellis had 17 points and 11 assists and the Bucks beat the Sacramento Kings 98-85 on Wednesday night for their third straight win.
"It was an ugly game," Jennings said. "It seemed like the Sacramento Kings were going to turn it up at one point, but they never did."
Missing their best player probably had something to do with that. The Kings were without center DeMarcus Cousins, suspended one game by the NBA earlier in the day after striking Dallas' O.J. Mayo in the groin area in their road loss Monday night.
Ersan Ilyasova added 16 points and a season-high 14 rebounds for the Bucks, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored a season-high 17 points in his first start of the season for Milwaukee (11-9), which has its best 20-game start since 2005-06.
Tyreke Evans had 17 points in his return to Sacramento's lineup after missing three straight games — and five of six — with a sore left knee. John Salmons added 16 points.
The Bucks never trailed and used a 12-2 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to take a 79-64 lead and put the game away.
"In the second half, we wanted to take over from the beginning, and we did that," Mbah a Moute said. "We tried to play a little faster. At one point we were playing at their speed, where it slowed the game down and we weren't getting anything."
Besides Cousins, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, the Kings were without key reserve forward Marcus Thornton (personal reasons). The Bucks were missing their two starting forwards, Larry Sanders (illness) and Epke Udoh (left wrist sprain), and key reserves Mike Dunleavy (bruised left knee) and Beno Udrih (right ankle sprain).
The offenses struggled as the Bucks shot 41 percent (39 for 96) from the field to Sacramento's 37 percent (32 for 86), and the Kings were just 3-of-19 (16 percent) on 3s.
"We took a lot of bad shots that led to frustrating possessions," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "This was a night where we didn't move the ball. It still comes down to making the extra pass."
The missed shots led to a lot of rebounds and Milwaukee finished with a 60-50 edge.
Drew Gooden finished with 10 boards in his first extended playing time (22½ minutes) of the season. He was inactive much of the year before making his debut last Friday.
"You have got to credit our defense at least, to make the team miss that many shots," Gooden said. "We had 24 offensive rebounds. ... That's just the balls going up and guys going after it and having the passion to go get that ball."