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."
Jennings learned a little something from Kobe
Fox Sports Wisconsin | Jan 21