Brandon Jennings Headed to India for NBA Promotional Tour

Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks will travel to India May 13-18 to conduct a series of events to grow the game of basketball in Mumbai and Pune.

Jennings became the youngest player to score 55 points in a game on November 14, 2009 and is the 16th NBA ambassador to travel to India in the last three years as part of the league’s continued commitment to spread the game.

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Red hot Bucks beat the Boston Celtics in chippy, playoff atmosphere

By Jake McCormick

Beating a Lebron-less Cleveland Cavalier team gave Milwaukee Bucks’ skeptics plenty of ammunition to rebut any argument supporting their current hot streak. After coming out of a dogfight against the hot-handed, full strength Boston Celtics with an 86-84 victory Tuesday night, Milwaukee froze their doubters like deer in headlights (that was too easy…I’m sorry). [Read more…]

Bucks vs. A.I. Live Blog

By Paul M. Banks and Jake McCormick

And Brewers GM Doug Melvin just passed as by, so far he’s had a chance to enjoy a 12-8 Bucks lead with 3:38 to go 1st period

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LeBron, Shaq reflect on Milwaukee Bucks’ rookie Brandon Jennings

LeBron

By Jake McCormick

Four NBA Championships, 3 NBA Finals MVPs, two league MVPs, two Rookie of the Years, 20 All Star appearances, three scoring championships, and two gold medals speak volumes about the combined accomplishments of Cleveland Cavalier teammates LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal. So when they talk about a player, in this case Milwaukee Bucks’ rookie Brandon Jennings, people listen.

“Jennings is a very talented player; he’s very quick, very fast,” James said after the Cavs’ 101-86 win against the Bucks. “He’s very confident in his abilities.”

BJAfter posting 21.8 points, 5.7 assists, 4 rebounds, and a 50% three point percentage, Jennings was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for October/November. Even with only 19 games under his belt, the Milwaukee offense runs through the 6’1” 169 lb 20-year-old point guard. That’s remarkable enough itself, but early praise from Shaq and LeBron speak candidly about Jennings’ expectations and potential.

More than a few reporters, columnists and panelists on the various “sports shouting” shows have compared Jennings to Allen Iverson, minus the occasional controversy. But opposing players are typically better judges of talent and ability than the people that are paid to watch and discuss the game.

An athlete doesn’t risk losing a good interview subject when speaking about a player’s talent level and potential, and their opinions are always taken as far as their resume. Striking Kazaam from the record, Shaquille O’Neal has one of the most respected opinions and playing careers in the NBA. And he had nothing but praise for the budding career of Brandon Jennings.

“He reminds me of an Allen Iverson/Nick Van Exel combination,” O’Neal said. “He’s a hell of a player, everyone knows his story and I wish him well.”

James said Jennings has confidence that typically comes with experience. That sets the bar pretty high for the rookie, who has already been touted as a type of savior for a franchise that desperately needs a face and personality.

“(Confidence) is something you gain over the years in NBA, but he has it right now,” James said. “He knows how to play the game of basketball. They’ve given him that torch to carry the team.”

ShaqO’Neal added that Bucks’ coach Scott Skiles and his background as a point guard have helped Jennings grow quicker than an Obama chia pet profit margin. Pushing the comparisons a bit farther, Shaq wasn’t shy about Jennings’ chances of joining the elite class of superstars led by Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, and LeBron.

“I see Kobe, D-Wade, and LeBron but you just have to be consistent,” O’Neal said. “The good thing about the names just mentioned is they have been consistent since day one.”

On the court, James let Jennings know that he still has much to learn when James’ blocked his shot after Jennings’ drew some preliminary “ooh”s with a quick behind the back crossover driving to the basket.

“I basically said that I like to pass the baton down or give advice,” James said. “It looks like he’s handling it the right way, but at the same time if he ever gets into a situation where he needs help he can give me a call.”

When the face of the NBA extends an olive branch and gives you his business card after 19 games in the league, you’re doing something right.

“It’s very tough to be a superstar in this league,” he said. “But right now he’s doing an unbelievable job for this team, this franchise.”

Milwaukee center Andrew Bogut returns to trumpets and fanfare

Bulls Bucks Basketball

By Jake McCormick

For the second time this season, the Chicago Bulls-Milwaukee Bucks matchup came down to a last second shot. Thankfully for the home court Bucks, that shot was taken by Brad Miller of the Bulls, who’s attempt off a Derrick Rose drive clanked off the right-front of the rim to give Milwaukee a 99-97 win.

Rose’s game mirrored that of Brandon Jennings’ during his early season hot streak, as the Chicago point guard scored the majority of his points in the second half to bring Chicago back from the dead. However, his unselfish pass to Miller was the first question on reporter’s minds, which is often the price to pay for a star player’s faith in his teammates at the end of a tight game.

“It’s part of being point guard, (Miller) was open; that’s why I did it,” Rose said. (Concerning his late scoring) “I usually get a feel for the game then step it up. I just have to step it up in the beginning.”

Of course, any victory after a rough four-game losing streak is going to be embraced with a sigh of relief and a clean slate. The biggest story of the night before the start of the game was the rematch of two of the Eastern Conference’s best young point guards in Brandon Jennings and Rose. After it was all said and done, the return of Andrew Bogut became the clearly favored talking point.

Bogut was announced as a starter so late that Dan Gadzuric received the opening introductions over the Bradley Center loudspeaker. His absence and return can be likened to the Crystal Pepsi fad of the early 1990s; people didn’t realize the little things they loved about Pepsi (like its color) until they were taken away. Now clear cola is celebrated as if it were a walk of shame, and Bogut’s presence on both sides of the ball should help the team understand just how long of a walk that can be.

Bulls Bucks Basketball“It really makes things easier for everybody as far as playing inside-out and not having to create shots for each other,” Charlie Bell said. “With him you throw inside, spot up, and being great passer he finds open guys and gets open looks.”

The Aussie’s 22 points, 15 rebounds, three steals and four blocks all led the Bucks, with 14 of his points coming in the second quarter. Two of his four blocks were made late in the fourth quarter, and all came on drives through the lane.

“Both times I was there early,” Bogut said. “I knew (Luol Deng) was going to try and dunk it with two hands and the Rose block was a big one too.”

But his true impact on the game can be summed up by his defensive awareness around the basket in the third quarter. Bogut met Bull forward John Salmons on the left side of the lane and forced a pass to Rose cutting toward the basket. Bogut shifted his feet fast enough to cut the point guard off and prevent an easy bucket. The fact that he fought for the rebound after a short tip drill was just icing on the cake.

“I was confident going into the game,” Bogut said. “The coaches emphasized (confidence) going into season. They want me to shoot the ball much more.”

Bulls Bucks BasketballWith virtually unknown Turkish forward Ersan Ilyasova coming on strong as of late (He contributed early and fouled out with 13 points and eight rebounds), Bogut’s return allows much more flexibility in the Bucks’ offense, which is just the way Brandon Jennings likes it.

“I actually like it when him and Ersan are in game,” Jennings said. “Both rebound and Ersan is a shooter, so if you trap Boges, you’re leaving Ersan open. We have so many weapons out there at one time it just makes everything easier.”

The Bucks will take their 9-7 record to Washington D.C. Wednesday before returning home for another key divisional matchup against the Central-leading Cleveland Cavaliers.