The Memphis Grizzlies are still trying to find their way under first-year coach Marc Iavaroni. A win against one of the league's best teams should do wonders for their confidence.
The Grizzlies look to win two straight for the first time this season when they face the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night at the Bradley Center.
After losing road games against Portland and Utah by a combined 36 points, the Grizzlies had the difficult assignment of playing host to Houston on Tuesday. Memphis, though, played the red-hot Rockets tight throughout and hit its free throws down the stretch to secure a 105-99 victory.
Pau Gasol scored 26 points, including four free throws in the final minute, and Darko Milicic added 20 points - one shy of his career high - as the Grizzlies (2-4) ended a four-game losing streak to Houston, who had won six of its first seven.
Mike Miller finished with 17 points and Rudy Gay contributed 15 for Memphis, which matched a season high in points and shot a season-best 50 percent (35-of-70) from the field.
Free throws were the difference in the game, as Memphis sank eight straight in the final two minutes after Houston tied the game at 97. Memphis scored 34 points from the line, compared to 17 for the Rockets.
The Grizzlies also won the battle of the boards 44-36 against the league's second-best rebounding team. Kyle Lowery grabbed eight rebounds - the second-highest total of his career.
"We got some big defensive rebounds down the stretch,'' Iavaroni said. "Tip-outs that we came up with the ball where everybody was fighting for it. It got a little crazy there.''
In his last two games against the Bucks, Gasol has averaged 31.0 points on 25-of-31 shooting from the field and 10.5 rebounds.
Milwaukee (2-4) remained winless on the road after a 113-88 loss Sunday at San Antonio.
Mo Williams scored 17 points and Michael Redd added 14 for the Bucks, who faced a 12-point deficit after the first quarter and trailed by as many as 40. They shot 41.5 percent (34-of-82) from the field while allowing the Spurs to connect on 55.7 percent (39-of-70).
Milwaukee has lost all four road games while beating Chicago and Toronto in its only two home contests.
"We're not clicking on all of our cylinders," Bucks coach Larry Krystowiak told the team's official Web site. "Offensively, it's been a struggle, but I'm optimistic. It's not time for us to start jumping ship and trying to come up with another plan because I think we have everything we need in this building right now."
While averaging 89.5 points on the road, the Bucks are scoring 95.0 in their two home games. They also have been much better defensively at the Bradley Center, holding opponents to 78.5 points, compared to 105.3 away from home.
Rookie Yi Jianlian had another strong performance Sunday, tallying 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting with seven rebounds and three blocks. He ranks third on the team in scoring (11.8), is tied with Redd for second in rebounding (5.8) and leads in blocks (2.0).
The Bucks swept the 2006-07 season series with the Grizzlies, posting a 100-94 home victory on Dec. 8. Milwaukee has won seven of its last 10 home games against Memphis.
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