Preview: Bucks vs. Grizzlies
MILWAUKEE — After getting back to .500 with a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers last weekend, the Milwaukee Bucks will try to continue their winning ways when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night at the Bradley Center.
The Bucks are still getting settled after a trade last week that brought Eric Bledsoe to Milwaukee. Coach Jason Kidd moved the veteran into the starting lineup, shifting Malcolm Brogdon to the bench, where he has provided scoring punch to a unit that has struggled this season.
“Malcolm going to the bench (is) giving us something that we haven’t had,” Kidd said “He’s giving us points and rebounds.”
The reigning Rookie of the Year has been a fixture in Milwaukee’s starting lineup since early last season but wasn’t upset at all about his new role.
“I think we’re playing well together,” Brogdon said. “I think it helps having two point guards coming off the bench, me and (Matthew Dellavedova), playing together. It helps the ball be facilitated. Everybody’s touching it, everybody feels like they’re into the game and they play defense harder. …
“Acquiring Eric really allows us to be a deeper team, to be able to bring better players off the bench, to keep coming at teams with strong guards and strong players.”
Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has benefited from the change. With Brogdon playing the point for the second unit, the league’s leading scorer (31.7 per game) has been able to spend more time off the ball, leading to better scoring opportunities.
“For me, it’s just easy,” Antetokounmpo said after scoring 33 points on 12-of-19 shooting against the Lakers. “I don’t have to fight to make plays no more. I’m off the ball and when I want, when I feel like I need the ball, I can get the ball back. …
“Malcolm and Delly at the same time sometimes, it just makes the game easier. Delly can handle the ball, Malcolm can handle the ball, Bledsoe can handle the ball and, yeah, I can handle the ball too. … It just makes the game easier, not just for me, for everybody.”
The Grizzlies come to Milwaukee looking to bounce back from a 111-96 loss to Houston on Saturday night — their fourth in the last six games.
They’ll need a strong start from Mike Conley, who’s scoring 18.0 points per game but is only shooing 39.7 percent from the floor and 31.4 percent from beyond the arc.
The veteran point guard has been bothered at times by an Achilles’ injury this season but wasn’t willing to use than as an excuse.
“I get decent opportunities but more so it’s just been the flow of our game and it’s just been that way,” Conley said. “I’ve been just moving the ball and making sure we’re playing together as a team, and that’s how we’ve been winning. We need to stick to the plan and hope I can make some shots within those opportunities early in the first half. In the second half, I know it’s 100 percent my time to go.”
The Grizzlies have lost their last three games in Milwaukee.