Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks cap first half vs. Grizzlies
According to STATSAccording to STATS
Milwaukee Bucks at Memphis Grizzlies
- These teams split their two meetings last season, with the Bucks winning in Memphis by 13 and the Grizzlies winning in the Orlando bubble by 13. Milwaukee has prevailed in each of its last three visits to Memphis, with each win coming by double digits.
- The Bucks had their five-game win streak snapped with a 128-97 loss to the Nuggets on Tuesday. Prior to that 31-point defeat, Milwaukee's largest loss in any game over the last three seasons was 22 (twice).
- Giannis Antetokounmpo is the only player this season (minimum 70% of team games played) to rank in the top five in both points per game (29.1) and rebounds per game (11.7) and the top 30 in assists per game (5.8). He was the only player to do that last year and could be the first player to do it in consecutive seasons since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did so in three straight from 1971-72 to 1973-74.
- Memphis scored 56 points in the paint in its 125-111 win over the Wizards on Tuesday, the ninth time in its last 10 games that it has scored over 50. The Grizzlies are averaging a league-high 55.4 paint points per game in 2020-21 and are 11-2 when scoring more than their season average (56 or more).
- Ja Morant had his first career game with 30+ points and 10+ assists on Tuesday, as he had 35 and 10. He is the third Grizzly ever to post a 35-10 line in a game, joining Mike Conley and Jason Williams.
- The Grizzlies rank second in the NBA in fast-break scoring this season, averaging 16.0 points per game (76ers -- 16.7), while the Bucks rank third with 15.9 per contest. Milwaukee leads the league in opponent fast-break scoring, allowing only 9.3 per game, while Memphis ranks 28th, allowing 14.6 per contest.
The Milwaukee Bucks visit the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday in their last outing before the NBA All-Star break.
The Grizzlies have won three of their last four games, including a 125-111 win at Washington on Tuesday. Each of Memphis' victories over the current stretch have been by double digits.
On Feb. 25, the Grizzlies routed the Los Angeles Clippers, 122-94, then on Feb. 28, decimated the Houston Rockets, 133-84.
A different scorer led Memphis in each of those games. Tyus Jones scored 20 points against the Clippers; Justise Winslow notched 20 points against Houston, in just his fourth game of the season back from a hip injury; and Ja Morant posted 35 points to go with 10 assists at Washington.
The Washington win further reflected the Grizzlies' depth with De'Anthony Melton shooting 6-of-10 from 3-point range en route to 20 points.
Melton also helped limit Bradley Beal, the NBA's leading scorer at nearly 33 points per game, to 23.
"It's being disciplined," Melton said of perimeter defense. "We just want to make it as difficult as possible for them (to score). ... Not foul them, not give them easy points at the free-throw line. It also takes the team, though. No one player is going to go out there and lock them up."
The defensive emphasis turns to the interior on Thursday against reigning Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo is averaging 29.1 points per game and shooting 63 percent from inside the 3-point line. With a yield of 53.8 percent on two-point field-goal attempts, Memphis ranks in the bottom third of the NBA.
Antetokounmpo scored 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting his last time out, but was one of only three Bucks to score in double figures in a 128-97 loss to Denver on Tuesday.
The blowout defeat snapped a five-game winning streak, which solidified Milwaukee in third place of the Eastern Conference after it endured a five-game losing streak before that stretch.
Khris Middleton scored 20 points on Tuesday. He shot 3-of-6 from 3-point range, a bright spot in an otherwise dismal, 11-of-40 shooting performance from beyond the arc against the Nuggets zone defense.
"We've got to shoot it better. We got to the rim; we got several dunks early. Then we missed a few shots, and then the zone kind of gave (Denver) momentum," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said in his postgame press conference.
Milwaukee's poor 3-point shooting on Tuesday was a departure from its season-long performance. The Bucks rank near the top of the NBA at 39 percent from outside, paced by Middleton's 43.6 percent.
Memphis is shooting 35.9 percent from 3-point range, but hit 44.8 percent at Washington despite the absences of Grayson Allen and Kyle Anderson. The duo, two of the Grizzlies' best outside shooters on the year at 39 and 40.7 percent, were sidelined due to concussion protocol and an illness, respectively.
Milwaukee was without Jaylen Adams due to COVID-19 protocols on Tuesday, and Jordan Nwora due to ankle injury.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 3, 2021