Brandon Jennings' Record-Breaking Night Put Into Historical Perspective
In what would prove to be a shootout, and one during which NBA rookie sensation Brandon Jennings would break multiple records and join a select group of players along the way, the Milwaukee Bucks edged the Golden State Warriors 129-125.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Bucks' broadcasters had begun drawing comparisons of Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Allen Iverson and, of course, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whose record Brandon Jennings broke against the Golden State Warriors.
What was it that drew this sort of high praise? Let's break down tonight's dominant performance by Jennings.
It seemed as though Jennings could get nothing going early, as he shot a poor 3-for-11 from the field, with two free throws in the first half, as Milwaukee found itself down eight points at home to the struggling Warriors.
The saying "let the game come to you" must have struck Jennings at halftime because in the second half, the rookie point guard would go on to drop 45 points and lead a comeback win and kept answering every shot the Warriors could manage late.
Jennings, the front-runner for the 2009 Rookie of the Year award in the early going of the 2009 NBA season, came out with a vengeance in the second half which was a thing of beauty.
Hitting 12-of-13 shots in the third (the lone miss coming with 5.9 seconds left in the period) and leading Milwaukee's charge with 29 points by himself, Jennings again took the Bucks on his back and led them to victory.
Hitting 7-of-8 3PT FGs tonight, Jennings set the tone for what would be a high scoring affair. Jennings gave Milwaukee their first lead of the second half with 5:07 left in the third quarter.
This was the first lead the Bucks had all game up to that point, and from there Jennings took the Bucks under his wing and eventually built a nine-point lead to end the third quarter.
As the game progressed, the crowd could see and feel that something special was happening. With every three pointer or pull-up jumper, Jennings had Milwaukee going wild.
As quickly as the Bucks and Jennings had built a nine-point lead, they watched it disappear, with Monta Ellis hitting a three to give Golden State the late lead at 110-109 with 3:39 to go in the fourth.
That lead was short-lived, thanks to Jennings hitting a 9-foot jumper to give Milwaukee the lead again, at 110-111 with 3:28 to go.
With an exchange of baskets between the Warriors' Ellis and Corey Maggette, Jennings answered back with shots of his own, scoring 12 points from the 3:38 mark to the end of the game.
Jennings' performance put him in special company. Only five players have averaged 20 points and 5 assists/game their rookie year.
Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Oscar Robertson, Allen Iverson and now Brandon Jennings, should he keep his scoring and assists at this level for the remainder of the season.
This season has been a very impressive one so far, but the person happiest with Jennings' performance? It has to be Bucks General Manager John Hammond, the man who was criticized heavily for his selection of West Virginia collegiate standout Joe Alexander.
The pick of Jennings in the 2009 NBA draft carried its own risks, but the Bucks front office was too sure of his talent to let rumors of selfishness or poor performance in Italy deter them from selecting him with the 10th overall pick.
That very pick may have altered the course of two franchise's histories, because Jennings originally wanted to go to the New York Knicks with hopes of LeBron James signing there in the summer of 2010.
Instead, the Golden State Warriors chose Davidson standout Stephen Curry, the Knicks drafted Jordan Hill, and Jennings fell into the lap of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Where the Bucks can go with the talent that Jennings has is yet to be determined, but if nothing else, he's setting his own personal bar quite high with a record-breaking performance like tonight.
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