The game started in familiar fashion for the Budenholzer Bucks, with the defense locking down the paint and forcing close range misses. This was a particularly big challenge since Memphis led the league in points per game scored in the paint coming into this one, but the Milwaukee defense was all the way locked in during the first quarter, ending the period leading 31-17. The Grizzlies got feisty for the second quarter and made up some ground, but they still trailed 61-51.
Milwaukee’s shooting went ice-cold in the third quarter (missing all 8 of their threes), allowing Memphis to erase the deficit and actually carry an even score (84-84) into the final period. That shooting drought lasted into the fourth quarter and Memphis built a bit of a lead, but some timely contributions from Jrue Holiday helped stabilize the Bucks and give them a chance to re-take the lead within the final minute of the game. At the very end, there was more than a bit of back and forth action. We had:
- a made three by Pat Connaughton to give the Bucks a 1-point lead
- a goaltend by Giannis to give the Grizz a 1-point lead
- a pair of Khris Middleton free throws to retake a 1-point lead
- a clutch Ja Morant layup to re-retake the lead for Memphis
- a clutcher Jrue Holiday jumper with 2.0 seconds left to re-re-retake the lead for Milwaukee
The Grizzlies had the last shot, which fell short, and gave Milwaukee a hard-earned W to end the night.
Stat That Stood Out
Milwaukee is a team that has improved its half-court offense, but it’s always preferable to get easy points in transition. Tonight, the Grizzlies outran them by scoring 10 more points in the open court, 26 to 16. Milwaukee’s live-ball turnovers and Memphis’ swarming defense made it an advantageous environment for the Grizzlies to generate easy points, which combined with Milwaukee’s shooting woes to put the Bucks in a hole that they just barely climbed out of.
But sometimes it’s just the result that matter, and the Bucks ended the first half of the season with a win.