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Monta Ellis beats Warriors in Bucks debut

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POSTED March 16, 2012 10:34 p.m.

OAKLAND (AP) — Monta Ellis returned to Oracle Arena in his much-hyped Bucks debut and finished with 18 points, four rebounds and four assists as one of six Milwaukee players in double figures in a 120-98 win over the Golden State Warriors that was plenty emotional for both sides.

Luc Mbah a Moute had a career-high 22 points and season-best 17 rebounds for Milwaukee, which played without starting forward Ersan Ilyasova because of an illness that kept him at the team hotel in San Francisco.

Drew Gooden added 16 points, 11 rebounds and four assists and Carlos Delfino had 15 points and nine rebounds as the Bucks extended their season-best winning streak to five games with their sixth win in seven.

Golden State dealt Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown to Milwaukee on Tuesday for injured center Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. On Thursday, the Warriors turned around and traded Jackson to the San Antonio Spurs for Richard Jefferson.

Ellis drew a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 19,596 as the final Bucks player announced in pregame introductions. Moments before tipoff, Ellis walked along the Warriors bench and gave hugs and handshakes to each of his former teammates before finding toddler son, Monta Jr., and embracing the boy.

Ellis raised both arms in the air and waved as he left the court following the game to yet more applause.

Ellis, who spent most of seven seasons with the Warriors, gave Milwaukee a 2-0 lead when he hit a 15-footer at the 11:18 mark of the first quarter. A tribute highlight video played to Green Day's hit "Time of Your Life" during a timeout with 5:35 remaining in the opening quarter that ended with "THANK YOU!" on the main scoreboard. Ellis saluted the fans before play resumed, then immediately knocked down a 20-footer.

A billboard near the main entrance to an Oracle Arena parking lot still features a life-size picture of Ellis with his white No. 8 Warriors jersey. He's pumping his right fist in celebration.

Ellis is rejuvenated and eager for a fresh start in Brew Town — and Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles can't wait to have time to start designing plays around Ellis, who shot 6 for 15.

Skiles played the guard for the entire first quarter before giving him his first break to start the second period. Skiles said before the game he would sit Ellis down if he sensed the guard was getting overly excited or trying to do too much.

Rookie Klay Thompson scored 19 points two days after going off for a career-best 26 in a 105-103 home loss to the Celtics. Thompson went 1 for 7 in the first quarter but wound up 6 of 17 from the field overall for his seventh straight game in double figures, but it wasn't enough to keep the Warriors from dropping their second straight since Ellis' departure following a three-game winning streak.

Golden State got outrebounded 54-35 and gave up 52 points in the paint — something the Warriors hope will change once Bogut returns to the court from a broken left ankle.

Udoh, Golden State's sixth pick in the 2010 draft out of Baylor, received his own cheers when he entered the game late in the first quarter. He had four rebounds and four fouls with zero points in 20 minutes off the bench.

Meanwhile, former Warriors forward Mike Dunleavy was booed when he checked into the game with 2:56 to go in the first quarter. Dunleavy led all Bucks scorers with 24 points off the bench.

Stephen Jackson had yet to pass his physical with the Spurs, so Jefferson had to watch alongside Bogut rather than make his Warriors debut. Bogut and Jefferson were introduced on the big screen early in the second quarter.

The Warriors trailed by as many as 19 in the first quarter 31-12. Golden State got back within seven following a 3-pointer by Thompson only to fall behind 56-43 at halftime.

Milwaukee has scored 100 or more points in six straight games, improving to 16-4 overall in such games.

Notes: Bogut, wearing a walking boot for his ankle injury, will undergo another MRI in 2½ weeks to determine his healing. He also had a broken right elbow. "I've gone on Google and researched my injuries and they're not chronic," said Bogut, who signed autographs and even signed on a white No. 8 Ellis Warriors jersey for 16-year-old fan Mark Caramat. ... The Warriors' 12 first-quarter points were a low for the opening period this season. ... Mbah a Moute shot 7 for 7 in the first half and finished with his second double-double of the season, second in a row and 18th of his career. ... Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens watched courtside along with former Warriors star Al Attles. ... Golden State plays at Utah on Saturday to complete one of seven remaining back-to-backs.

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