Giannis Antetokounmpo just set a new career-high by scoring 55 points in the Milwaukee Bucks victory over the Washington Wizards. It was truly an amazing performance, capped by Giannis making a beautiful tribute to the city of Milwaukee in his post-game interview. Of course, the achievement of 55 points in a game holds special sentiment among Bucks fans. Back in 2009, rookie first round draft pick Brandon Jennings put up 55 points at home in Milwaukee against the Golden State Warriors. Of course, we’re talking about two totally different eras of Milwaukee Bucks basketball. Still, one has to wonder: which 55-point performance is the most significant?
The Brandon Jennings 55-Point Game
Going into the 2009-10 season, the Milwaukee Bucks had five-straight losing seasons and finished last in the division in each of them. In other words, there was not much to celebrate in Milwaukee for a very long time. After going 34-48 in 2008-09, the Bucks got the tenth overall pick in the NBA Draft. Of course, they used that pick to select Brandon Jennings, who did not wait long to cement himself into team lore.
On November 14, 2009, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Golden State Warriors 129-125. With the win, the Bucks improved to 5-2 on the season. Remember, the Bucks finished 14 games under .500 in the previous season. Such a start was unheard of in Milwaukee at this time.
Of course, the Bucks won the game on the back of Brandon Jennings and his 55 points. Amazingly, he scored 45 of those points in the second half alone! Jennings finished the game 21-34 from the field (7-8 from three) and was 6-8 from the free throw line.
It was a truly masterful performance, and in just his seventh NBA game! Brandon Jennings, like the 2009-10 Milwaukee Bucks as a team, gave the city something to be excited about. Something that it had not been able to be excited about in five years. A winning team. Unfortunately, the Bucks would lose in the first round of the Playoffs that year.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 55-Point Game
Fast forward over 13 years and much has changed in Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo has racked up All-Star game appearances and numerous regular season awards, including two MVP’s. Most importantly, the Bucks have become perennial championship contenders, winning it all in 2021 in six games (fulfilling the prophecy).
Last night’s 55-point performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo was truly very special. It was Giannis’ third-straight game scoring 40 or more points. Per the team, his 143 points in his last three games obliterated Flynn Robinson’s team record of 129 points in a three-game span in 1969.
Giannis’ 143 points in the last 3 games is a Bucks franchise record passing Flynn Robinson’s 129 points from 1969.
55 PTS | 10 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 61 FG% pic.twitter.com/4Qh4s8QXck
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 4, 2023
Historic? Yes! Dominant? Absolutely! Special? Most definitely! But is it more significant than Brandon Jennings’ 55-point game? I would argue that it is not.
The fact of the matter is that Bucks fans have come to expect greatness from Giannis Antetokounmpo. We see it just about every night. This is not to say we take it for granted. However, it is safe to say that dominant performances from Giannis have become something Bucks fans expect. Unfortunately, so do the MVP voters. Giannis does not seem to be getting the same kind of MVP buzz as other NBA stars because he has been so dominant for so long.
On the flip side, there is Brandon Jennings’ 55-point game, which came at a time when Bucks fans had not seen anything like it in, well, decades. As mentioned previously, the Bucks had not had a winning season in five years when he dropped 55 on Golden State. He brought a swagger to the Bucks that the team had not had since the 2001 season. For these reasons, Jennings’ performance, in my opinion, is more significant. Not necessarily better; but more significant.
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