Originally written February 20, 2012 on Fox Sports Wisconsin:
Bucks_vs_mavericks_5f06
MILWAUKEE -- It had been 24 hours since Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova had a career night with 29 points and 25 rebounds in New Jersey, but coach Scott Skiles was still in awe of what the 24-year-old Turkish native had accomplished. "That's an exceptional performance," Skiles said Monday. "I've seen a lot of good performances and that's right up there. There's absolutely no question about that. That was a phenomenal performance. "He can probably never do it again, realistically." Skiles has always preferred to bring Ilyasova in off the bench. This season, Ilyasova has only started in 12 of 31 games, but Skiles has recently put him in the starting lineup and it's paid off. "The numbers and everything were pointing that out Ers, at the beginning of the games, it maybe caused a little anxiousness and he didn't play as well," Skiles said. "Whereas if he viewed the game a little bit and then checked in, he always played better. That doesn't mean that's not over now. "Obviously he deserves to stay in there right now. Hopefully that's something you look back on and say, 'He put that behind him.' He's a young player. He's got experience, but he still doesn't have a ton of playoff experience and things like that. Hopefully it's something he can put behind him because he's playing really well right now." Ilyasova, a second-round pick by the Bucks in 2005, is averaging near his career numbers this season with 10.1 points and 8.5 rebounds. But over his last seven games, Ilyasova is averaging 17 points and 11.7 rebounds. "Ers deserves it," Skiles said. "He's out-working people in a lot of situations. Having 29 points is one thing, but it's the rebounds that really stick out. On any given night Ers can make four 3s and get 25 points or something, but to get that many rebounds is incredible." Harris and Gooden remain out: Tobias Harris, the Bucks' rookie forward, missed his second consecutive game on Monday and is viewed as day-to-day by Skiles. Harris took a hard screen from Orlando's Dwight Howard on Friday night and crashed to the floor holding his right shoulder. "He's out; He's too sore," Skiles said. "He can't shoot the ball yet. He's a tough kid. He wants to play. We'll have to see tomorrow. He's getting treatment again. He's not going to re-injure himself or anything. He simply can't get his arm up high enough to shoot the ball yet. If he's ready to go, we'll play him. It's just a matter if he can do it." Drew Gooden was also unavailable on Monday with a sprained right wrist and his status for Wednesday's game in Chicago is unknown. Jennings' struggles: As Ilyasova has surged in recent weeks, point guard Brandon Jennings has trended in the opposite direction. Jennings nearly made the All-Star game, but since his omission, his numbers have dropped. In back-to-back games this week, Jennings shot 7 of 21 from the field (33 percent), followed by 4 of 20 (20 percent). Even with those recent games, Jennings is still shooting better than 40 percent this season. When asked if he knows why Jennings has been in a funk, Skiles replied, "It's nothing I want to share publicly." Playing the Magic again?: For the third time in nine days, the Bucks and Magic squared off. Though Milwaukee held fourth-quarter leads in the first two games, Orlando came back to win both. "Guys don't want to get beat three times," Skiles said. "You can make some adjustments, much like a lot of playoff series aren't 4-0 sweeps. Somebody does win a game. Out of the 96 minutes we've played against them, we've played pretty well for about 80 of the minutes. Obviously it wasn't enough to win one of the games. "They beat us twice, so I don't know if I'd say I'm happy to go against them again. That doesn't make a lot of sense." Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
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