Advantage: immovable objects.
After starting the 2012-13 campaign 2-0 for the first time in seven years, the Milwaukee Bucks could not overcome the physicality of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, and the uber-athleticism of Rudy Gay, suffering their first home loss of the season to the Memphis Grizzlies in a fairly lackluster, yet predictable way. The final score read 108-90, and it was exactly as close as it looked.
Both teams traded barbs evenly throughout the first quarter, with the Grizzlies opting for a "ground and pound" inside while the Bucks launched moonshots to keep Memphis' lead to 23-22 after one. You can probably guess which strategy was sustainable through the remaining 36 minutes.
Opening up the second quarter on a 9-0 run spearheaded by Marc Gasol's plodding inside game and sporadic elbow jumpers, and a combination of Zach Randolph/Rudy Gay iso plays, Memphis ran their lead to 56-43 by halftime. After registering 21-12 and 32-22 second quarter scoring advantages in their first two wins over the Celtics and Cavaliers, the Bucks cowered in the face of the Grizzlies' physicality, falling 33-21 in the second and setting a record for rimmed out finger rolls (it's not as dirty as it sounds, I promise).
Memphis increased the advantage to 20 midway through the third quarter, when an unlikely Bucks lineup of Brandon Jennings-Monta Ellis-Mike Dunleavy-John Henson (making his NBA debut)-Larry Sanders mounted a 21-6 mid-quarter comeback that whittled the deficit to nine with a minute to play in the third. Unfortunately, Wayne Ellington and Quincy Pondexter each drained a three in the quarter's final 45 seconds, returning the lead to double digits for good.
At that point, the Grizzlies' post play put the game on lock down, daring the Bucks to shoot mid-range shots they had not made all game and forcing Milwaukee's gangly gaggle of big men into uncomfortable foul-drawing situations.
The Bucks shot just 36.9% to the Grizzlies' 53.2%, hitting four of their six three pointers in the first quarter. Memphis post players combined for 50 points and won the rebounding battle 49-41. Brandon Jennings led all scorers with 19 points on 5-20 FG, adding 5 assists and 4 steals to the stat sheet. Monta Ellis also partook in the brick laying festivities (15 points, 5-18 FG, 7 assists, 4 rebounds).
Milwaukee will travel to Washington to take on the new look Wizards on Friday at 6 p.m., while Memphis hosts the Hosuton Rockets on the same night at 7 p.m.
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