Most Bucks fans are unabashed Brandon Jennings apologists. They see the missed shots, they see the low field goal percentage at the rim and they see occasionally questionable shot selection and it doesn’t bother them. Aside from having someone to finally hitch the bandwagon to after years of suffering, there is a valid reason that Bucks fans have enjoyed watching Jennings.
He controls the game like someone twice his age.
Sometimes that’s trouble, but more often than not, he takes care of the ball and makes the right decisions. All year long, Coach Skiles has talked about Jennings’ low turnovers and his poise for someone his age, but it wasn’t often reflected in his assist numbers. There are a few reasons for this, poor shooting, players holding the ball too long and Andrew Bogut’s slow post up game. So while the numbers don’t necessarily say Jennings has been a very good point guard, he has.
And the numbers were unusually kind to him in the Bucks Saturday afternoon blowout of the Heat in Miami. 11 points (4-10 FG 1-3 3FG), eight assists and five rebounds without committing a turnover, but Jennings has been clear that only one number means anything to him: 30. As in 30 wins with just 28 losses.
Via Jennings Twitter:
My coach told me, I don’t get paid to play. I get Paid to WIN……………….!!! I like that, and I respect that.
Balance was again the name of the game for the Bucks. Typically, the Bucks ride Bogut and then hope to get decent contributions from everyone surrounding him. Saturday, the Bucks got just eight points from their big man (4-10 FG, 10 rebounds, two blocks), but it was offset by good shooting nights from virtually every other Bucks.
- Jerry Stackhouse had another strong outing and was a willing participant in Miami’s apparent plan to surrender the three-point shot to the Bucks. Miami spent LONG stretches of the game, probably the majority of important minutes in a 2-3 zone. The Bucks have had their struggles against the zone this year, but led by Stack, shot the Heat out of the building Saturday. Stack finished with 16 points (6-10 FG 4-7 3FG) his highest total as a Buck. It was Stack’s third straight double digit game, as he continues to get comfortable and get his timing back.
- The Bucks finished 10-26 on three-point shots Saturday. Miami looked like they didn’t want to let Andrew Bogut beat them as he had done to so many teams lately, so they made the Bucks wings hit shots. John Salmons was 2-5 from deep (18 points), Carlos Delfino 3-6 (15 points) and Jennings 1-3.
- Looking for other clues on why the Bucks were able to beat Miami by so much? The Bucks had 24 assists to just 12 turnovers, whereas the Heat had nine assists to their 10 turnovers. Without Dwyane Wade, the Heat have no one to create … or finish … or control the ball … or do anything really.
The 35.9 percent the Heat shot had a lot to do with the Heat not being a very good team, but don’t discount the Bucks role in that performance. The Heat didn’t have many good looks and when they did, it was usually Rafer Alston or some other notoriously poor shooter the Bucks were leaving. After allowing 110 points to a less than potent Indiana offense, Coach Skiles will feel good about holding Miami under 80 on the road.
- With Wade out, I was expecting Michael Beasley to attempt to step up and assert himself. But, um, I’m still waiting. Beasley finished 5-14 and hardly impacted the game at all. I can’t remember much of anything he did in the second half, especially in the third quarter with the game slipping away from the Heat. In the third, Beasley finished just 1-5 and took only one shot after the first three minutes of the quarter.
Jim Paschke dropped this nugget of info during the game: The Bucks have had three four winning seasons since 1991-92 (a thanks to “bridger” on the correction). Think about that for a second. I often remember fondly upon the Bucks “glory days” in the late nineties, but that really consisted of one strong year and a few okay ones. A winning season in Milwaukee would be a special thing and a playoff season would be even better.
Beating Miami to take the tie breaker with them and getting two games over .500 gets the Bucks closer to both of those goals.