Bucks’ Brandon Jennings hits last-second game-winner to top Cavaliers
By Ben Golliver
Brandon Jennings hasn’t skipped a beat after the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to grant him a contract extension. You never know how players will respond to the uncertainty that comes with delaying the decision. In Jennings’ case, he’s handled things exquisitely since Wednesday’s deadline passed with no deal.
On Friday night, he led the Bucks to a surprise, double-digit defeat of the Celtics, tallying a game-high 21 points and 11 assists. On Saturday, he followed that up with 13 points and 13 assists against the Cavaliers, plus a dramatic game-winning three to push the Bucks to a 105-102 win. Jennings’ heroics came off of a sideline inbounds play which saw Bucks wing Mike Dunleavy look off Monta Ellis, curling through first, before finding Jennings, who curled through screens behind Ellis and found himself wide open at the top of the key. In one motion, Jennings gathered and released a pretty three in less than 0.7 seconds. Multiple video reviews confirmed the shot counted; the Bucks didn’t wait on the review, they immediately stormed the court to mob Jennings.
Jennings isn’t particularly big and he’s not yet shown consistent range on his jumper during his career. Still, he’s in a position where he could make Milwaukee pay up for waiting to extend him. He just turned 23, he can create offense off the dribble, he’s quick and fearless, and he will have the opportunity to play big minutes with the ball in his hands. If he’s able to make steps as a play-maker for others while also keeping his turnovers in check, he will find himself with suitors next summer. With three other 2009 point guards, Ty Lawson, Jrue Holiday and Stephen Curry, all getting extensions, Jennings’ path will require patience but landing the largest deal of that group is a possibility if he shows real progress this season.