Nothing went perfectly for the Milwaukee Bucks in their home opener Saturday night.
That is, until point guard Brandon Jennings swished a buzzer-beating three-point shot to stun the Cleveland Cavaliers, 105-102, and send the BMO Harris Bradley Center crowd of 17,086 into a frenzy.
Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving had just tied the score on a strong drive to the basket with seven-tenths of a second left.
But the Bucks (2-0) had enough time for a final answer as Mike Dunleavy inbounded to Jennings, who launched his shot over Anderson Varejao, who went racing toward the top of the arc to contest it.
"We run the play every day in practice so I knew I would get a good open look," Jennings said while surrounded by reporters in the locker room. "They played it well.
"I just got it as high as I could and I knew once it left my hand and I saw how straight it was going, I knew it was going in."
The Cavaliers (1-2) were coming off a 29-point home loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday, but they gave the Bucks all they could handle.
Irving finished with 27 points and seven assists and Varejao added 20 points and 17 rebounds.
It seemed the game was headed to overtime, but Jennings' clutch shot instantly changed the mood.
"I was thinking about calling a timeout if we didn't have anything," Dunleavy said. "But he got it in a nice rhythm coming into his left hand, and I tried to put it past the numbers for him.
"We'll see how it plays out. To be 2-0 feels good; you can't do any better than that. We feel we have a lot of room to improve. But it's a nice start."
Coach Scott Skiles said the play was designed for Jennings to pop out beyond the three-point arc.
"With point 7 (on the clock), you're not even sure you're going to get a good look," Skiles said. "But the guys ran the play well and Brandon was able to just get squared up enough to get enough air under it to give it a chance.
"I was worried about Varejao, that he would sniff it out, but maybe just a split second too late."
Dunleavy finished with 29 points, 12 rebounds and six assists while playing 35 minutes, leading another strong bench effort by the Bucks.
Forward Larry Sanders added 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocks before fouling out with 1:28 remaining. The crowd chanted, "Larry, Larry," saluting his efforts as he left the court.
Sanders' shot-blocking skills were missed on Irving's final drive in the lane, and forward Ekpe Udoh contested the shot but said he wanted to be careful not to foul.
A three-point play by Irving would have put the Cavaliers ahead, so Udoh backed off at the last second.
"I didn't want the whole city mad at me," Udoh said.
Monta Ellis contributed 23 points and four assists and shared the ball-handling chores with Jennings, who finished with 13 points and 13 assists. It was the second straight 13-assist night for Jennings.
But the Cavaliers made the Bucks point guard work as coach Byron Scott opted to use 6-foot-6 forward Alonzo Gee to defend Jennings.
"It had a big effect on the game," Skiles said. "We had great difficulty even getting into our offense when Gee was up on Brandon. He's a high-level defender laterally, and he's big.
"So we tried to put the ball in Monta's hands a little bit more and let him play the point. We had a little success doing that."
Gee finished with 18 points and six assists and rookie guard Dion Waiters had 13 points for Cleveland.
The Bucks held a 55-49 halftime lead but could not shake the Cavaliers, who led by 12 early in the game and were able to hold the lead for much of the final quarter.
"We wanted to have a little more pop in the beginning of the game based on what we did last night (in Boston), and we didn't," Skiles said. "But we scrambled around and found a way to get one."
The Bucks did lead, 102-95, late in the game before Cleveland scored seven straight points, all by Irving.
"He's their primary scorer," Jennings said. "He's kind of like that Derrick Rose, that Deron Williams guy for their team. Going in, you know he's going to have the ball in his hands a lot.
"The main thing is you've got to make him work on the defensive end and that's what Monta did."