Round two of an arduous seven-game road trip for the Memphis Grizzlies came against one of the league’s best in the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks entered Saturday aiming to extend their win streak to four, while Memphis’ objective was to come out on top during the second night of a back-to-back after defeating the Chicago Bulls Friday.
Both the Grizzlies and Bucks were firing on all cylinders offensively to begin this one — they each converted six of their first ten field goals. Giannis Antetokounmpo got off to a fast start for the opposition, scoring nine points on 4-for-6 shooting by the 7:25 mark of the period. For Memphis, Jonas Valanciunas shouldered the bulk of the scoring load early, equating Antetokounpo’s output with nine quick points. The ball was humming all quarter long for the Grizzlies, with eight of the team’s opening ten baskets coming off assists. Consecutive three-balls from Grayson Allen to bookend the opening frame guaranteed a four-point lead for Memphis after one, 35-31.
Desmond Bane and Xavier Tillman are two rookies who have played their way into the Grizzlies long-term plans. The pair of youngsters combined for eight points and two three-pointers across the first three minutes of the period to give Memphis a nine-point edge with as many minutes remaining. Antetokounmpo inevitably began to impose his will on the offensive end once the Grizzlies’ lead began to balloon. He was assertive getting to the cup and calmly kicked out the rock to open shooters once double teams came his way. By the 4:55 mark of the second, the Greek Freak boasted a stat line of 13 points, seven rebounds, and three dimes. Still, the Bucks weren’t able to chip away at their deficit. Balanced, team-wide scoring from the Grizzlies — four of five starters scored at least eight by halftime — kept Milwaukee at bay. The Beale Street Bears entered the locker room ahead by ten, 69-59.
Dillon Brooks, coming off one of his top performances of the season on Friday, followed up his 32-point barrage with another standout game. Six points and two assists within the first five minutes of the quarter spearheaded a Grizzlies spurt that enlarged the Memphis lead to 16. Brooks tallied 19 points, five rebounds, and four assists up to this point and led his team in the points department. Allen sat right behind his fellow wing with 16 thanks to nailing four of his six looks from deep. But the Bucks came roaring back, led by Brook Lopez of all suspects. He put together a six-point spurt across one minute, and Milwaukee went on a 12-4 run to shrink a once sizable edge for Memphis to single-digits at the 3:21 mark, 91-82.
However, the two young bulls for Memphis stole the show once again. A timely three from Bane and floater from Tillman in the waning minutes of the third resulted in the Grizzlies holding an 11-point advantage with 36 minutes in the books, 100-89.
The Grizzlies have 100 of them thangs through three!— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) April 18, 2021
Grizz lead Milwaukee 100-89 heading into the 4th. pic.twitter.com/9BFFnTXZKL
With his team down in the final frame, Antetokunmpo turned his level of play to another gear — he scored or assisted on all of Milwaukee’s baskets throughout the first four minutes of the period. With that said, whenever the Bucks were able to string together fruitful possessions, the Grizzlies countered. Kyle Anderson and Tyus Jones, along with the aforementioned Tillman and Allen, came up with huge buckets down the stretch this time around. Allen scorched the net with seven treys on ten attempts and registered 26 points on the night. Despite a herculean effort from Antetokounmpo with 28 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists, Memphis came out on top in convincing fashion, 128-115.