Grizzlies defeat Bucks
The Memphis Grizzlies seem to be getting tougher by the game, as they proved
their resilience and will to win again tonight in an 89-86 win over the visiting
Coming off arguably their most inspired win of the season on Tuesday the Grizzlies received unfortunate news prior to the game that their return to FedExForum would be played without their leader Zach Randolph, who suffered a right ankle sprain late in the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. With Randolph out the Grizzlies allowed the Bucks to put together a big third quarter that captured the momentum of the game.
The Grizzlies weren’t about to let the game to slip out of their hands at home, however, as they locked down defensively in the fourth quarter, holding the Bucks to only five points through the first eight and a half minutes of the final stanza.
Even with their superior defensive effort in the fourth the Grizzlies resolve in clutch situations was still tested. After watching John Salmons hit a jumper to tie the game at 77 with just under three minutes remaining in the contest Mike Conley came up with the two biggest plays of the game.
The first was steal that resulted in a Tony Allen fast break dunk and the second was a three pointer on the Grizzlies next possession that pushed their lead to 82-77 with 1:12 remaining in the contest. The Bucks were unable to come away with points on their next two possessions, leaving them only 19.6 seconds remaining in what would become a free-throw shooting contest that the Grizzlies would not relinquish.
The win moves the Grizzlies to a season-high three games above .500 at 29-26. The Bucks are now 20-32 on the season.
Despite the loss of Randolph for tonight’s game the Grizzlies did receive some positive news before the start of the game, as Rudy Gay returned to the lineup after a one-game absence due to a sprained right toe. Gay put together a gutty performance scoring 14 points and grabbing a team-high 10 rebounds in the win.
The contest started at a snail’s pace, with the Grizzlies pushing to an early 7-0 lead as the Bucks failed to score until the 7:25 mark in the first on a Brandon Jennings runner.
The Bucks slow start allowed the Grizzlies to extend their lead to as many as nine, but the lack of their leader evidently effected Memphis’ continuity in the first. Memphis allowed the Bucks to trim their advantage to one twice before taking a 20-17 lead into the second.
In the second quarter Grizzlies fans got their first look at a familiar face as Jason Williams checked into the contest for the first time since returning to the Grizzlies. Williams garnered a nice reception from the FedExForum crowd, but his performance in the first half was anti-climactic, as he pushed the ball without any eye-popping results and sat the rest of the contest.
The Grizzlies were unable to create any separation from the Bucks in the second
frame in part due to the slow start from Darrell Arthur. Typically a guarantee
to step in and produce when Randolph is absent from the lineup, Arthur struggled
with his shot early, missing his first six attempts from the field.
A major bright spot for the Grizzlies in the first half was the play of Sam Young, who connected on all five attempts from the field in the first half for 13 points to help the Grizzlies take a 45-40 edge into the break.
The Grizzlies struggled at the start of the third quarter, allowing the Bucks to blast their way back into the contest with a 16-2 run to open the second half. The run was keyed by Corey Maggette, who went off, accounting for 12 of the 16 points on four three pointers that turned the complexion of the game.
After Maggette hit a pair of free-throws to extend the Milwaukee lead to 58-49 Grizzlies Head Coach Lionel Hollins inserted his defensive specialist, Tony Allen, to slow down Maggette’s red-hot hand.
After providing the heroics on Tuesday night holding Kevin Durant in check while scoring a season high 27 points Allen again provided the fireworks in the third quarter, helping the Grizzlies trim what was at one point a double digit deficit to 68-63 going into the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies were led by Conley, who finished with 23 points and eight assists,
while Sam Young tallied 19 points and eight rebounds. Maggette finished with
a Bucks team-high 22 points, 18 of which came in the third quarter.
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