Brandon Jennings made Milwaukee buzz.
Over the previous three seasons on press row in Milwaukee, I have seen it all. But when it came to buzzer-beaters, it was all last-second losses. Until November 3, 2012.
The last time was my birthday. March 7, 2012. Derrick Rose was in town to celebrate. Tied at 104-104, the Bulls had the final shot of the game. Rose had made just 7-21 from the field – 33.0 % makes a great batting average and a miserable shooting percentage. The defending MVP had made just one shot outside of the paint the entire game – and that was a 15-footer from the baseline way back in the first quarter. The defending MVP heard MVP chants throughout the game – they echoed all the way through the post-game press conferences. Rose clears out. He goes right, left, right, left, right, left. He goes right over Jennings. And straight in. 106-104, Bulls. Happy birthday.
Overtime. All even at 113-113. December, 16, 2009. The Mavericks have never won a title. But Dirk Nowitzki has time to make that work. And on this night he has 3.1 seconds to make it work. Jason Kidd has the inbound pass. Nowitzki receives the ball 18 feet from the hoop. Looks left. Turns right. Takes one dribble. Fades. Back-peddles. Takes a full 10 steps back and watches. Knows. The ball arcs, floats majestically, bounces, and falls in. 115-113. Down go the Bucks.
This was the game after Brandon Jennings scored 55 points. I had missed that game. Raking leaves for my parents an hour and a half north. November 16, 2009. Defending champs in town – Lakers in town. Always an event. Bucks lead 106-105, with 5.4 seconds to go, in overtime. Kobe Bryant gets the ball from just behind midcourt. Charlie Bell picks him up a couple steps after midcourt. Bryant moves to the left with conviction. He knows just the spot he wants – and he gets there. Turns around, fades away, have seen it a thousand times before. This one swishes. 107-106. Bucks fall.
Three superstars. Three buzzers.
Tonight reminded me of all the pain and made me forget all the pain. After a dazzling drive and layup by Kyrie Irving tied the game 102-102, the clock read 0.7. Mike Dunleavy – the team's best shooter who also happens to be having the best game of anyone in the building – is the in-bounder. He won't be shooting. He doesn't even step onto the court until the buzzer buzzes. Ekpe Udoh tries to set a screen, but Anderson Varejao and Dion Waiters go around him, on each side. The pass goes to Brandon Jennings a step beyond the three-point line, straight on. Varejao gets an arm up. Jennings flips the shot into the net. 105-102. All Bucks.
The Bucks demolished the Celtics in the opener. The Bucks dropped the Cavaliers in the home opener. Two grandiose openings. One picture-perfect closing.
The Bucks are buzzing.
My passions? Writing and the Bucks, to start. So it is good to be here. I have reported on media row for just about every Bucks home game since 2009-10 – almost all of that time writing for BrewHoop. I have also written for the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, SB Nation, ESPN Milwaukee, Slam Online, etc. You can follow me on Twitter @alexboeder or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.