The Milwaukee Bucks strung together their second consecutive victory tonight defeating the cellar dweller Memphis Grizzlies, 121-103. Squashing everyone’s worst fear, the Bucks were able to not be the team to snap the Grizzlies’ now 18 game losing streak. The win puts the Bucks on even footing with the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers in the win column of the Eastern Conference standings. The three teams have all collected 36 wins as we head into the final weeks of the season.
The game started out a little sluggish as the directing voices of coaches and players were heard throughout the lifeless FedEx Forum. Once the Bucks woke up, they did not look back and raced out to a 14 point halftime lead. Milwaukee was able to lean on their three-point shooting in building their lead and finished 12-of-25 from beyond the arc. The Grizzlies made the game more interesting than it should have been in the fourth quarter. The Bucks’ lead shriveled into the single digits, but they were able to hang on and run away with the win. Khris Middleton led the way in scoring with 24 points on 64.3 percent shooting, including two-of-three from three-point range.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was quiet in tonight’s contest and the signs of a rough game were seen during the first half. He found himself in foul trouble halfway through the second quarter when he was whistled for his third foul. Antetokounmpo finished with 20 points, six rebounds, and four assists and was never able to get into a consistent flow due in part to his foul trouble as well as his six turnovers.
Brandon Jennings made his season debut for the Bucks late in the first quarter and transplanted everyone back to 2009. It took about ten minutes for the prodigal son to be on triple-double watch. Jennings finished the night with 16 points on five-of-nine shooting (including three-of-six from three), doled out 12 assists, and scooped up eight rebounds. Jennings zoomed and weaved his away around Memphis in his 23 minutes of action.
With Memphis owning the league’s worst record, they are firmly in tank mode and gave several of their youngsters some burn. Rookie Dillon Brooks scored 16 points on 53.8 percent shooting and he was joined by Jarell Martin who pitched in with 16 points of his own. The sage veteran, Marc Gasol, finished the night with 17 points on 47.1 percent shooting from the floor and corralled seven rebounds.
Stat that Stood Out
40 - Brandon Jennings buoyed the Bucks’ bench scoring tonight as the second unit finished with 40 points. The usual negative impact of quiet nights from Giannis and Eric Bledsoe (14 points, five rebounds, and six assists) did not hurt Milwaukee because the bench unit was able to handle their business. The second unit guys appeared to be in a better flow throughout the game and helped wake the squad up halfway through the first quarter and inject some fun into an apathetic atmosphere.