Brandon Jennings hit a tiebreaking three-pointer as time expired to carry the Milwaukee Bucks past the Cleveland Cavaliers, 105-102, in their home opener. The Bucks were locked in a tight battle with the Cavs much of the night, fighting back from an early deficit, taking a late lead, blowing it, then winning in stunning fashion on a deep catch-and-shoot from Jennings.
Milwaukee had a surprisingly hard time dispatching the Cavaliers at home one night after running the Boston Celtics off their own floor. Despite shooting over 60% in the first half, Milwaukee held just an 8 point lead at the break, a lead that disappeared in the third quarter thanks in large part to Anderson Varejao, who scored 12 of his 20 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in that period alone. Varejao gave the Bucks fits all night, pulling down 17 boards and sinking 10 of his 13 shot attempts. Kyrie Irving was also excellent for Cleveland, scoring their final 13 points, including a game-tying coast-to-coast layup with just 0.7 seconds remaining.
But 0.7 seconds was all Milwaukee needed, as the deep jumper from Jennings found the bottom of the net and Milwaukee completed a two-game sweep of their opening games. And while Jennings' shot will get the press, his teammates made it possible. Mike Dunleavy was spectacular, scoring a game-high 29 points on just 12 shots, including a 6/7 night behind the arc. Meanwhile, Larry Sanders again mixed things up in the middle, blocking four shots and pouring in 17 points on 8/9 shooting. Sanders fouled out with 1:28 left in the quarter and was met with a rousing chorus of "Larry, Larry!" from the BMO Harris Bradley Center crowd. Sanders has made a strong case for the starting center position, and logged 30 minutes to Sam Dalembert's 10. Monta Ellis also notched 23 points, though his shooting remained suspect.
Milwaukee faces the Memphis Grizzlies at home on Wednesday. The Cavaliers, who fall to 1-2, head to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers Monday night.
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