Milwaukee Bucks: Brandon Jennings’ 55-point masterpiece

NEW YORK - JUNE 25: (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 25: (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Brandon Jennings‘ 55-point performance was remarkable at the time, and still stands out in Milwaukee Bucks history to this very day.

Brandon Jennings certainly divided opinion amongst fans during his four-year tenure with the Milwaukee Bucks.

A portion of Bucks fandom will be quick to point out Jennings’ flaws as a streaky, shoot-first point guard whose inefficiencies kept Milwaukee from taking the next step in the early 2010s. Others will defend Jennings as the lone star on an irrelevant and mediocre Milwaukee side, during a dark period for the franchise.

Statistics further fuel this argument as while Jennings averaged a very respectable 17 points and 5.7 assists per game, he also shot at below 40 percent from the field during his time as a Buck.

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Wherever you stand on Jennings’ time in Milwaukee, however, one cannot dispute the sheer brilliance he produced on a memorable night in November, 2009. In only his seventh game in the league, Jennings grabbed the headlines and set expectations soaring as he dropped 55 points in a come from behind victory over the Golden State Warriors.

Jennings and Milwaukee had started the season in promising fashion, entering the game with a 4-2 record. Jennings had been a revelation, averaging 20.7 points, 5.2 assist and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting over 45 percent from three. He had been everything Milwaukee had expected him to be when they drafted him 10th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft.

In the previous game, Jennings had set an early career high with 32 points, in a tough 108-102 win over the Carmelo Anthony-led Denver Nuggets. What Jennings did next blew that already impressive performance clean out of the water, though.

This particular game had garnered much interest from media around the country as it was touted as Jennings vs Stephen Curry, two of that draft’s top ten picks and premier point guards.

Before the game, Jennings was asked about the potential matchup between himself and Curry. However, Jennings was far more interested in the bigger picture on that night, with fifth year guard Monta Ellis being both his and Milwaukee’s biggest hurdle between them and victory.

"“All the guards are (the matchup) tonight. Mostly it will be Monta Ellis.”"

Golden State and Ellis got out to a quick start as they led Milwaukee 30-21 at the end of the first. Jennings had actually failed to score in the first quarter as the Bucks initially struggled to keep up with the quick pace Ellis and the Warriors were setting.

Jennings then managed to score the first points for Milwaukee in the second quarter as he and the Bucks started to get themselves back into the contest.

At half time, the Warriors led Milwaukee 57-49, with 10 points from Jennings. What then transpired will live long in the memories of all Bucks fans, as Jennings produced one of the greatest scoring performances in NBA history. Jennings scored 29 points in the third quarter, including 15 straight among Bucks players..

Jennings’ outburst was, at the time, the fourth highest individual quarter in NBA history, and it was achieved by a rookie in just his seventh game no less.

Jennings was playing with no fear as he drained shots from all over the floor. The Warriors had no answer for the 10th overall pick, as Milwaukee poured in 43 points for the quarter and took a six-point lead heading into the final quarter.

Milwaukee then found themselves down 115-114 with a little over two minutes to go. Enter Jennings who nailed another three-pointer with Warrior guard Acie Law right on top of him, to give Milwaukee a two-point lead. Jennings then scored his 50th point for the night with a shot that summed up the spectacular night he was having.

Jennings had run around a screen set by Bucks center Andrew Bogut, before stopping on a dime and banking in a jumper off the glass to leave Milwaukee up by six with around a minute-and-a-half to play.

In a match for the ages, Golden State kept coming at the Bucks and with 40 seconds to go, trailed by only three points. Unfortunately for the Warriors, Jennings was not finished, though. Warriors forward Corey Maggette allowed only a fraction of space for Jennings, who seized the moment and banked in yet another clutch three to equal Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s rookie record for most points in a game, with 53.

The Warriors were gallant right to the end and were forced to foul Jennings in the dying moments to keep the game alive. Jennings nailed both free throws to push Milwaukee’s lead out to four points and his own personal tally to 55. The score would remain the same from there, as the Bucks took the victory 129-125, and Jennings won the hearts of NBA fans around the globe.

Jennings finished the game with 55 points on 21-34 shooting from the field and 7-8 from three-point territory, while also hauling in five rebounds and five assists. His 55 points was the most by any rookie in Milwaukee history, and the most in the NBA since Earl Monroe scored 56 in an overtime game back in 1968.

It remains tied with Kareem as the second highest points haul by any Bucks player in history, beaten only by Michael Redd‘s 57 point performance in 2006. At 20 years and 52 days, Jennings also remains to this day, the youngest player in NBA history to score 50-plus points in one game.

What stands out most about the performance from Jennings however was not just the numbers. It was the sheer belief in his own ability to get the job done for Milwaukee in a tight contest. Every possession, Jennings was going up against guards with vastly more experience and more often than not, he was coming out on top.

To this day, this performance stands tall as one of the greatest individual showings in Milwaukee Bucks history. Jennings went toe-to-toe with some of the best guards in the league and triumphed in tremendous fashion. Jennings carved his own place in the history books with a number of notable records that still stand to this day, and did it in the most entertaining fashion.

Next: Wisconsin Herd: Jordan Brady is ready for the challenge of leading an expansion team

On it’s own, the achievement was remarkable, but to be produced by a rookie playing only his seventh match just adds to the magic of it all.