Found January 20, 2013 on
Fox Sports Wisconsin:
Brandon Jennings learned something from playing his idol last Tuesday night.
Kobe Bryant picked up Jennings defensively in the backcourt, 94 feet away from the basket. Knowing how much Bryant's constant harassing defense impacted him, Jennings thought he'd give it a try.
Jennings set the defensive tone from the start Saturday night and also scored 30 points as the Milwaukee Bucks built a big lead and held off a furious comeback attempt by Portland in a 110-104 victory.
The win gave the Bucks a 3-1 record on their longest road trip of the season and marked the first time since 2001 that Milwaukee finished a trip of four or more games with a winning record. Five days before All-Star reserves are named, Jennings put his best foot forward against the Trail Blazers. His early energy sparked Milwaukee on a 17-0 run in the first quarter to build a 30-12 lead.
He added eight assists and scored his 30 points on 9 of 20 shooting, making 12 of 15 free throws. The only negative was that his streak of consecutive games with a made three-pointer ended at 26.
"From the opening tip, Brandon came out and established himself at the defensive end," Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. "When he does that, he's a heckuva player."I think he showed tonight where he belongs. That was an All-Star performance right there. Doing it in every facet of the game and did it for 48 minutes."
The game plan against the Trail Blazers called for Jennings or whomever was guarding star rookie point guard Damian Lillard to make him feel the pressure.Jennings' speed and quickness allowed him to stay in front of Lillard without fouling while he used his quick hands to cause problems.
"We wanted to put pressure on them and keep the pressure on them," Boylan said. "Damian is a very, very good young point guard, and he's going to be a great player in this league. If you play soft on him, he'll kill you.
"The idea for us was to just stay into him and not let him feel comfortable at all. Brandon did a great job, as did our bigs who were showing out on the pick and rolls."
Leading by 17 at the half, the Bucks grew their lead out to 77-55 on a three-pointer from Ersan Ilyasova who scored a season-high 27 points and grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds - with 5:13 remaining in the third quarter.Milwaukee led by 21 when Portland caught fire and went on an 11-0 run to make it 80-70. The Trail Blazers closed the quarter on a 17-4 run and the Bucks only led by eight heading to the fourth quarter.
The Bucks then built the lead to 104-88 on a Jennings three-point play with 3:45 left in the game, but a Wesley Matthews run capped a 12-0 run by Portland and Milwaukee led by only four with 44 seconds to play.
In the end, the Bucks were able to hold on, but not before many anxious moments.
"It's an NBA game and the other team is going to make plays," Boylan said. "They were playing at home and were hungry for a win. We could have closed out better, but when we needed to we made the plays and got the rebounds and got the stops."
One of the reasons Portland was able to fight back in the game twice was the absence of Bucks center Larry Sanders. Angry about not getting fouls called while he was on offense, Sanders exploded after a foul call on Ilyasova.
He immediately was hit with a technical foul by referee Dan Crawford, and despite the efforts of Mike Dunleavy to calm him down, Sanders kept at it and was ejected with 3:08 left in the third quarter. Portland center LaMarcus Aldridge scored 10 of his 20 points after Sanders was run from the game.
"LaMarcus was then around the basket and a lot of those shots Larry alters or contests or blocks," Boylan said. " When we lost him it put a strain on us and they were able to take advantage of it."
Though it was the first winning trip of more than four games in nearly 12 years for the Bucks, it also was just their sixth winning trip ever through to the West Coast. Not counting the Toronto game last Sunday, Milwaukee went 2-1 in the western portion of its trip.
"It was a really great trip for us, except we should have won the game in LA," Ilyasova said. "Overall, we will look at the trip as a helluva trip for us.
"We have a lot of games in front of us and we have to play at the same pace as we did tonight."
Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The struggling Los Angeles Lakers have been looking to Kobe Bryant to do an awful lot this season. On top of carrying the offense, Mike D’Antoni has now called on his 34-year-old guard to defend the opposing team’s best perimeter threat on a nightly basis.
Kobe is having a very impressive year for sure, but it’s a lot to ask of someone his age and with as much mileage as he...
The Los Angeles Lakers are desperately trying to manage some wins to take a stab at the 8th seed as the team now holds a paltry 17-23 record. A team that once could pick off many of the teams in the league is struggling against the league’s bottom feeders; Sunday’s game against Toronto was another [...]The post Did Kobe Bryant Indirectly Ask For A Roster Change? appeared first...
You’ve just scored 81 points in an NBA basketball game, the second most in the sixty-year history of the league. In the process of obliterating a longstanding franchise record of one of the most storied organizations in the history of professional sports, you’ve quite literally carried your team to a 122-104 victory, inspiring 19,000 people to rise from their seats and laud...
Kobe Bryant is one of the most confident athletes you’ll ever come across. So it’s no surprise that he would say that he’s the best one on one player of all time. In an interview with ESPN, Kobe told a story about how he beat Tracy McGrady in a game [...]
Bryant, who leads the league in scoring at 29.7 points per game, said that alleviating some pressure on him on offense will in turn allow him to apply more pressure on defense.
“If (guarding the opposing team’s offensive threat) is going to be something that I’m going to have to do for a while, I’m going to need my teammates’ help to free up offensively,” Bryant said...
Had you told me when I woke up this morning that I would be writing several paragraph's about an NBA player who refuses to clean up dog poop, my first reaction would've been "just another Friday", but my second reaction most definitely would've been "gotta be Kobe". And wouldn't you know, it was.
Chris Palmer of ESPN the magazine had a long interview...
Tweet Special occasions during the NBA season generally mean new shoe designs for the league’s biggest stars. Festive-themed footwear can be seen during the smorgasbord of games on Christmas Day. Seemingly everyone in the All-Star game breaks out fresh kicks. Nike came out with special editions for Kobe, LeBron, and KD for last year’s [...]
The Lakers are 17-23, six games under .500, have fired a coach in Mike Brown, think about trading Paul Gasol everyday, and are just mired in mediocrity.
There are more than enough people to go around who can share part in the blame, but according to ESPN L.A., Kobe Bryant says you can “point the finger at him, he’ll take the blame.”
“That’s on me,” the 34-year-old Bryant...
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has played 1,420 NBA games, including the playoffs, but hasn't taken a step back or slowed down one bit.
Bryant, who's averaging 39 minutes a night, is having one of the best seasons of his career. He leads the league in scoring with 29.9 points per game, he's shooting 47.8%, and now has been asked to be the Lakers best defender...
The season has been a colossal disappointment so far, and Kobe Bryant was willing to shoulder the blame not only for Sunday's defeat, but also for the entire season.
Kobe Bryant made waves on January 4th when he finally joined Twitter, and the Black Mamba has amassed nearly 900,000 followers since. Meanwhile, on January 16th, in a slightly less ceremonious occasion, former NBA forward and fan favorite Brian Scalabrine (aka, White Mamba) also joined Twitter. He’s gained a respectable amount of followers so far (46,500), while having some fun...
Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni recently moved Kobe Bryant on the ball defensively, asking him to spend tremendous energy guarding younger, athletic guards like Kyrie Irving and Brandon Jennings.
Will D'Antoni stick with that plan with Bryant, even if it wears him down?
"How many more games do we have?" joked D'Antoni. "Unless he dies before ... like...
The NBA has announced the starting lineups for the 62nd All-Star Game. At first glance it seems that Kobe Bryant is still the most popular NBA player. Kobe barely surpassed LeBron James for the most votes with 1,591,437. This gives Bryant the record for most consecutive All-Star Game starts with 15.
LeBron James, MIA (1,583,646)
One of my favorite things is reading personal interviews with athletes. The interviewer asks the typical questions like, “what were you thinking during this play?” or “how are you going to turn this season around?” but also asks about movies, family and any other random topics that show that athletes have lives outside their respective sports.
Kobe Bryant recently sat down...
Let that thought sink in a bit.
Kevin Durant grew up dreaming of becoming a Toronto Raptor.
Not a Laker, with their championship duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. Not a Bull, following in Michael Jordan's footsteps. Not a Knick, playing in the mecca of Madison Square Garden. Not even a Spur, although no kid wanted to play in that precise style unless they had...