Road reaction: Grizzlies 96, Bucks 83
Earlier in the season, the Milwaukee Bucks made a habit out of winning games nobody expected them to have much of a chance in.
Down three key players — with another one severely limited — against one of the league’s best teams, Saturday’s game met the criteria for an uphill climb for Milwaukee.
But the Bucks were unable to muster enough offense to pull the upset Saturday.
Memphis took control late in the first quarter and cruised to a 96-83 victory over the short-handed Bucks at FedEx Forum. The loss prevented Milwaukee from adding to its 3 1/2 game-lead over Indiana for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, as the Pacers fell to Boston on Saturday.
1 big moment: After Milwaukee used an 8-0 run to cut Memphis’ lead to 78-69 with 8:42 left, the Grizzlies answered with a 10-2 spurt to extinguish a potential comeback attempt by the Bucks.
2 top performers: Courtney Lee led a balanced Memphis attack with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He entered hitting just 22.7 percent of his 3-point attempts, but Lee went 2 for 3 from beyond the arc Saturday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was the lone bright spot for the Bucks in an otherwise lackluster performance. The second-year forward scored a game-high 19 points with six rebounds on 7-of-10 shooting.
3 key stats: After beginning the season 15-12 on the road, the Bucks have lost eight consecutive games away from the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee’s last road win came Feb. 2 in Toronto.
Memphis became the fourth straight opponent to shoot over 40.0 percent from beyond the arc against Milwaukee, as the Grizzlies connected on 8 of their 14 3-point attempts. The Bucks have allowed teams to hit 11.8 3-pointers per game over their last seven contests. Meanwhile, Milwaukee is shooting just 31.8 percent from distance over its last four games.
Injuries have severely cut into the production the Bucks are receiving from their bench. After the reserves scored just 10 points against Indiana on Thursday, Milwaukee’s bench added just 14 points in the loss to the Grizzlies.
Said: "We’re not frustrated. (Injuries) are a part of the game. It is about getting better. We’ve been having injuries all year. This is nothing new. It is next guy up. Guys are competing. Guys might be down because we’ve lost some games. We need to find a way to win to end this trip." — Bucks coach Jason Kidd
Seen: The Bucks played with just 10 players on Saturday, as Michael Carter-Williams (ankle), Jared Dudley (back) and Jerryd Bayless (ankle) all were out injured. O.J. Mayo tried to play on his sore hamstring but only was able to play seven minutes.
Bayless has now missed three straight games, while Dudley and Carter-Williams were late scratches.
With Carter-Williams and Bayless out, rookie Tyler Ennis was Milwaukee’s only available point guard. Making his first-career start, Ennis finished with seven points and a career-high 11 assists in 36 minutes but shot just 3 of 14 from the field.
Antetokounmpo left the game with 7:03 left after appearing to step on the foot of another player. Afterwards, Kidd said Antetokounmpo told him he was fine.
Next: Milwaukee wraps up its three-game road trip in New Orleans against the Pelicans on Tuesday.
New Orleans prevailed with a 114-103 victory at the BMO Harris Bradley Center last Monday, as Anthony Davis carried the load with a career-high 43 points. At 36-29, the Pelicans are tied with the Thunder for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
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