Game Notes: Bucks at Wizards
Wizardry from the Little Guy flusters Jennings
by Aaron Kaplowitz
Following a gutsy, game-tying three-pointer by Brandon Jennings, Earl Boykins reminded the young buck that he’s still a rookie, selling him on a pump fake and leaning in to draw a foul with exactly one second showing on the clock. Boykins hit both free throws to give the Washington Wizards a 104-102 lead over the Milwaukee Bucks that would stand after Luke Ridnour’s desperation heave from the left corner fell well short.
“I didn’t think that was a foul at the time,” Jennings said. “I think he jumped into me.”
A close game throughout, Boykins hit a teardrop fadeaway to bring Washington to within one, 99-98, with 1:39 to play. After Milwaukee’s Andrew Bogut missed a short hook, it was Boykins again, dribbling in circles around Jennings before driving past him and dishing off to a wide open Brendan Haywood, whose two-handed flush gave the Wizards a 100-99 lead.
“It’s actually easier to play when the game is on the line,” Boykins said. “Tonight I was able to get it done for us.
Jennings, who shot 7-for-21 on the night, pushed the ball upcourt and rushed a leaner from the top of the key that fell short. Boykins added another pair of free throws as sporadic “M-V-P” chants drunkenly rained down from the nosebleeds, to give Washington a three point lead and Jennings the chance to redeem himself on an otherwise off shooting night.
With under 15 seconds to play, Jennings, who finished with 17 points, took a handoff from Bogut and leaned in for a three over Haywood that rattled in to tie the game, setting up Boykins’s cunning finale.
Luke Ridnour and Hakim Warrick each scored 20 points off the bench for Milwaukee. Gilbert Arenas needed 24 shots to score his team-high 22 points for the Wizards. Nick Young added 21, as he continues to take full advantage of his amplified role with Mike Miller still nursing injuries.
- Scott Skiles received a technical foul for erupting after a non-call on Warrick. Skiles responded to the T by running toward the ref and assessing him his own T. Locked in a one-technical-apiece stalemate, the ref quickly tagged Skiles a second technical, ejecting Milwaukee’s head coach with 29.7 seconds to play–in the first quarter.
- Asked about Ron Artest’s claim that he used to drink alcohol at halftime of games, Arenas expressed serious doubt in Ron Ron’s admission: “I don’t think he drinks it. I think it’s a Ron Artest comment. He knows that if he says, people are going to write about it.”
- It will be interesting to see how the Bucks handle Michael Redd’s return. As the only all-lefty backcourt tandem, Jennings and Redd will give teams a unique look each offensive possession.
- After the game, Skiles described his team’s effort as “very uninspired,” but the frustrated coach allowed himself to heap praise on Ridnour: “Luke has arguably been our most valuable player. He’s been the one guy who’s been consistent every night and consistent with his effort.”
- Although Jennings complained after the game that his team wasn’t getting calls all night, the Bucks launched 27 three-pointers and only 12 free throws–a logical negative correlation. This held true with the Wizards as well: 10 three-pointers to 34 free throws.