Brandon Jennings carved up the Celtics defense all game, but at 5:03 of the fourth quarter last night, he was merely a facilitator.

As the Milwaukee Bucks' point guard brought the ball up past halfcourt, he sent a casual pass in the air to Larry Sanders. There the 6-foot-11 forward soared through the Celtics' helpless defense and over Paul Pierce to slam home the alley-oop.

It was that kind of night for Pierce and the Celtics, who dropped their home opener, 99-88, to the Bucks.

For Pierce, the trouble started quickly. The 35-year-old picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter. At 6:06, he checked out and wouldn't come back into the game until 8:44 of the second.

The early foul trouble kept Pierce, who finished with 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting, out of sync all night.

"It was tough. I think it kind of threw me out of rhythm," said Pierce. "You know, I was able to sub early and come back in to the second quarter but even when that happens we have to have guys ready to step up but it really wasn't about me. It was about the way our team played tonight. It was disappointing on offense and on defense. Both sides of the ball, we didn't play well tonight."

When Pierce checked back in in the second half, buckets didn't come easy. By the time he hit his first shot, a 26-foot 3-pointer, there was 1:02 left in the third quarter. Four of his 11 points came at the free throw line.