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Sanders an early force for Bucks

Associated Press Modified: November 12, 2012 at 4:17 pm •  Published: November 12, 2012

MILWAUKEE (AP) — What a difference a year makes for Milwaukee Bucks forward Larry Sanders.

The 6-11 Sanders, who is in his third year with the Bucks, struggled a year ago to be consistent during the lock-out shortened season, averaging 3.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game over 12.5 minutes. He had only three games the entire season where he scored more than 10 points.

So far this season, Sanders has been the model of consistency, averaging 12 points per game while playing a career-high 27 minutes per game and helping the Bucks to jump out to a surprising 3-2 record.

He has scored more than 10 points in each of the first five games, highlighted by a career-high 17 points against Cleveland on Nov. 3, and has two double-doubles. He only had a total of two double-doubles in his first two years in the league.

On Saturday, Sanders scored 10 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Milwaukee lost a close one to Boston 96-92. The night before, Sanders scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 101-91 win over Washington.

"I feel more comfortable on the court this year," Sanders said. "I know if I play hard and under control, I can help make a difference."

Sanders, a 2010 first-round pick from Virginia Commonwealth, is quickly becoming a fan favorite for his hustle. The crowd saluted him with chants of "Lar-ry, Lar-ry" as he left the floor after fouling out late in the Nov. 3 home opener and they were chanting his name again Saturday against Boston after Sanders dove on the floor after a loose ball.

"I just love the fans in Milwaukee," he said. "It's good to hear that and feel the love and I just want to return it to them. I really like playing here because of the way the fans treat you. That's something you hear about coming to Milwaukee. I didn't really see it too much my first two years, but it's time to bring that back."

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