This is the kind of game people have been longing for from Brandon Jennings for some time. I’ve been swearing that Jennings has been playing well the last few games, but haven’t had much data to back up me when pleading my case to anyone who hasn’t watched the games. They’ve been looking at the box score and saying, “Hey, this guy couldn’t shoot a jumper into Lake Michigan from Bradford Beach, what do you mean he’s playing well?”
Okay, they didn’t actually say that, but you get my point, things haven’t looked pretty for a while when Jennings stats are glanced at the day after games.
Well we can finally look back at Jennings stats after a game and feel good now that Minnesota has again visited the Bradley Center. They seem to spread good tidings wherever they go with their 3-19 record on the road. That 19th loss is courtesy of the Bucks by the way.
Jennings had a lot to do with the win. The Bucks burst out of the gate with 12 fast-break points in the first quarter, or more than they’ve had on 25 separate occasions this year. Jennings had eight assists in the first quarter (he’d finish with 18 points and 13 assists). If you hadn’t already suspected that many of the points that were piled up in the fast-break first were assisted by Jennings by now, then shame on you, because they were. The points, and by association the assists, came in all sorts of ways: three-point shots, dumps down to Andrew Bogut and even another alley-oop to the Austrailian center, but one play stood out to me as different than the rest.
After a miss by Damien Wilkins (he’s good for that) Carlos Delfino gained control of the rebound and took a dribble. It appeared as if he’d take it up himself as he’s custom to doing, but that changed quickly. Jennings barked at Delfino with some intensity and demanded the ball immediately. On the catch Jennings burst up the court with some serious decisiveness, almost like he knew where this was going. He must have seen something he liked. He raced on an angle that drew a few defenders and just as he was running out of real estate and about to come to a halt six feet to the left of the hoop he threw a no-look pass to a wide open Bogut standing directly in front of the basket for an easy lay-up.
I assure you my words don’t do it justice. That is the kind of play people like me are talking about when we say Jennings is the type of guard who can see ahead of the play and make passes most people can’t. That is the kind of play that gets me through these extended shooting droughts Jennings has shone he’s prone to at this stage in his career. That is the kind of play that excites me about the Bucks future.
Remember that Bucks team that got zoned for the majority of the second half against Toronto and responded with three made threes in the entire half? That team must have missed the flight back to Milwaukee. The Bucks connected on 11-23 from behind the arc in yet another piece of evidence indicating that, yes they are inconsistent.
- Delfino brought it to the table Saturday night and no one said “Not at the table Carlos.” Zing. In what was without question the finest game of his NBA career, Delfino flirted with a triple double and ended the evening with 24 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. This is one night after chucking his way to a 4-15 performance in which he had the entire city of Milwaukee wondering how he could possibly be playing 40 minutes.
- The contributors to the onslaught were many: Hakim Warrick 18 points, Jerry Stackhouse recorded his first double figure scoring game with Milwaukee, dropping 14, Bogut had 14 and even Dan Gadzuric tossed in three points.
- The Bucks 36 assists were a season high and both Jennings and Delfino set new personal bests with 13 and eight assists. Overall, the Bucks moved the ball about as well as they had a lot recently, except they were just able to knock down a lot more shots than they typically do. Any time the Bucks are able to hit at a high clip they’ll rack up assist numbers, it’s just the first part of that sentence that has proven to be a problem.
Now that he’s started, is Bogut ever going to stop blocking shots? Coming into Saturday night’s game, Bogut was third in the league in defensive plays per game (steals, blocks and charges combined) at 3.63. That’s better than Marcus Camby, better than Dwight Howard and better than every other center in the league. It’s getting harder and harder to talk about the best defenders in the league without mentioning what Bogut does every night.
- The T’Wolves shot just 38.4 percent on the night, largely because of good work by the Bucks big men, Bogut and Kurt Thomas. They didn’t make life easy for the T’Wolves horses, Kevin Love and Al Jefferson. The Wolves don’t have much shooting or anyone who excels at slashing, so if Love and Jefferson are shut down, it gets difficult for Minnesota to get the ball in the basket.
The Bucks have been taking care of business against bad teams and at home all year, so it was no surprise to see them beat Minnesota. What was surprising was how thorough the beat down was and that the Bucks were able to string together two very good halves. That’s the upside of playing against the Minnesota’s of the world I guess though.