After some doubt about his injury status, Giannis Antetokounmpo ended up playing tonight — though they were without Jrue Holiday.
The game started out pretty back and forth for these two teams. The Grizzlies got early offense from Desmond Bane and Dillon Brooks, as they used a balance perimeter attack to get things rolling. The Bucks stayed in it due to the brilliance of Khris Middleton off the dribble, slicing his way through the mid-range. With an injury to Brandon Clarke, Xavier Tillman made another appearance in the rotation. He made a few cool defensive stops on Giannis, which was really nice to see from him. The Grizzlies closed the quarter with a 32-28 lead.
The Grizzlies’ defense fueled the 2nd quarter, shutting the water off on the Bucks. Milwaukee only scored 18 points in the entire quarter. Though the Grizzlies didn’t scorch the nets in the 2nd quarter, their offensive firepower came through a solid downhill attack that yielded shots in the mid-range and trips to the free throw line. The Grizzlies were up 59-46 at halftime.
Giannis Antetokoumnpo woke up to start the second half, just bulldozing his way to the rim at will for either shots at the rim or at the free throw line. Though he made his best efforts to try to reduce the Grizzlies’ lead, it just wasn’t happening. His teammates weren’t giving enough, and De’Anthony Melton also went on a 4-triple heater to open up the game even more. The Grizzlies ended the quarter with a 98-79 lead.
The Memphis Grizzlies were able to hold off the Bucks in the final period. Desmond Bane and Ziaire Williams provided some cool moments in the 4th quarter with their transition attack. Jaren Jackson Jr. caught a body towards the end.
Another win for the Grizzlies to bring their win total to 52 — just 4 wins away from tying the franchise-record (56) for wins in a season.
- Steven Adams set the franchise record for offensive rebounds in a single season. What a crazy full circle thing with the Steven Adams experience. There was that incident where he egged Zach Randolph into a playoff punch that drew a suspension in 2014. Adams comes here after a rough season with the Pelicans, and he breaks Randolph’s record for offensive rebounds in a season. He’s done a great job at doing his role — crashing the glass, finding his teammates, play good defense, set hard screens. This accomplishment is just another point in this case.
- Jaren Jackson Jr. Jaren Jackson didn’t have the best offensive game, shooting 5 of 14 from the field. However, he made up for offensive woes with an aggressive attack to get to the free throw line. He also played a big role in the team’s stifling defense that suffocated the Bucks for the majority of the game. The team’s ceiling could be dictated by his offensive efficiency, and we might get a good glimpse of that in this year’s postseason. His defensive impact, though, has been paramount in the team’s surge towards being a top-10 defense.
- De’Anthony Melton is on an absolute heater. I was not going to forget this monstrous surge from De’Anthony Melton. I have more on this coming next week.
- Xavier Tillman making the most of his minutes. It’s been a tough season for Tillman, going from a consistent rotation player last season to one on the outside of it this year. However, he made the most of his opportunity tonight with his hustle. He flashed some good individual defense flashes on Giannis, and he also hustled his way to 11 rebounds (5 offensive). The “next man up” mantra is big around here, and Tillman was a good example of that tonight.