Bucks' Jennings makes his presence known


Bucks' Jennings makes his presence known

BOSTON With so many talented point guards in the East, it's not that hard to overlook Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings.

But performances like the one he delivered on Friday night against Boston Celtics just might change how the fifth-year guard is seen by others.

Jennings turned in a masterful 21-point, 13-assist night in leading the Milwaukee Bucks to a 99-88 win over the C's.

For most of the game, Jennings dominated play by simply being aggressive at both ends of the floor.

"Playing a team like Boston, you have to be aggressive of course," Jennings said. "If not, they'll just take over the game right away. So our whole role was to just come out aggressive."

Jennings didn't try and hide the fact that facing Rajon Rondo only served as added motivation for him to play so well.

And the only way Jennings felt he could hold his own against Rondo, was to try and put Rondo his heels defensively.

"I just wanted to attack Rondo more and make him work because I knew he would do the same to me on the defensive end," Jennings said.

His strong play in the opener bodes well not only for the Bucks, but also for his chances of landing the lucrative long-term contract he's seeking.

The Bucks declined to work out an extension for him, which means he will be a restricted free agent this summer. With a number of teams having significant salary cap space, Jennings could potentially play his way into a max or near-max contract.

He will earn 3.2 million this season.

"You never know how that's going to affect today's player," said Bucks coach Scott Skiles. "Some guys can play right through stuff like that. Some guys succumb to it. You never know how it's going to affect somebody."

While a more lucrative contract is certainly motivation, Jennings appears to be just as driven to enter that upper echelon of point guards.

Having a big game against Rondo, one of the game's best, is a start after acknowledging that Rondo had out-played him often in previous matchups.

"He Rondo didn't just have good games, he owned me," Jennings said. "But this is a different year and I have to be more aggressive. You know we missed the playoffs two years in a row so it started from tonight and I'm just trying to go out there and compete every night. Whether I shoot bad or not, just as long as they know I gave it my all."

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics in control, but Nets within striking distance


Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics in control, but Nets within striking distance

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics were in control most of the first half, but the Brooklyn Nets managed to stay within striking distance most of the first half which ended with the Celtics ahead, 64-58.

It was a high-scoring first half, the kind that one of the league’s top defenses shouldn’t experience.

But it is the first game of the season and the Celtics clearly have some kinks defensively to work out.

The Celtics led by as many as 13 points in the first half with contributions coming from several players in the starting unit as well as off the bench.

Boston has spent a good chunk of the preseason preaching the importance of good ball movement.

It was indeed on full display as Boston had 19 assists in the first half on 23 made baskets.

As for the Nets, Bogan Bogdanovic kept Brooklyn within striking distance most of the first half as he tallied 10 points through the first two quarters of play. Brooklyn also got a nice lift from Justin Hamilton who had 14 first-half points off the Brooklyn bench.

Here are our halftime Stars, Studs and Duds



Isaiah Thomas

Thomas was a more assertive player in the second quarter and it paid off for the him and the Celtics. He finished the half with a team-high 11 points in addition to doling out a game-high seven assists.

Jae Crowder

Boston displayed some crisp ball movement in the first half, and Crowder seemed to benefit from this more than any other Celtic. Through two quarters of play, Crowder has a team-high 10 points which included him making his first four shots from the floor.



Sean Kilpatrick

The Nets only have five players on their roster from last season’s disastrous 21-win club, and Kilpatrick showed why he’s one of the few holdovers. At the half, he had nine points off the bench to go with three rebounds.



Brook Lopez

He’s supposed to be the Nets’ best player, but you would not have known this by his play in the first half, The 7-foot Lopez was a non-factor through the first two quarters of lay, missing four of his five field goal attempts to go into the half with just three points.

Quick Slants Podcast: Bills puffing out chests; Lewis on horizon?; trade deadline


Quick Slants Podcast: Bills puffing out chests; Lewis on horizon?; trade deadline

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss the Bills marking their territory in pre game warm ups with Matt Fairburn of NewYorkUpstate.com. Curran and Perry also discuss Dion Lewis’s possible return from a knee injury. Plus, the number histories of Chris Long, Dont’a Hightower, Malcom Brown, Barkevious Mingo, and Ryan Allen in the much ballyhooed segment “Hey, what’s ya number?”

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