Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Brunei Town

Grizzlies romp past Bucks

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE (AP) – De’Anthony Melton had 24 points, Desmond Bane added 20 and the Memphis Grizzlies continued to win in the absence of scoring leader Ja Morant, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 127-102 yesterday.

Dillon Brooks scored 19 points and Jaren Jackson Jr had 16 and two blocks to help Memphis win its fourth straight and eighth in the last nine games. Melton was eight of 11 from the field, going six of nine from three-point range.

“I’m just trying to go out there and hoop,” Melton said. “Have fun with it. Play with confidence and do what the team needs me to do.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 30 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, scoring 18 points in the third quarter when Milwaukee tried to make a run. Khris Middleton added 16 points. The defending champion Bucks lost for only the third time in the last 13 games.

Milwaukee dropped into a tie for third with Boston in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind Philadelphia and Miami.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Tyus Jones reacts after fellow guard De’Anthony Melton scored a three-point basket against the Milwaukee Bucks. PHOTO: AP

Antetokounmpo was listed as questionable before the game with a sore right knee, but after going through pregame warmups was deemed ready to play. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies continued to play without Morant who is nursing a sore right knee and is not expected to return until near the end of the regular season.

“They just do a lot of things that are about winning basketball,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said, adding: “Credit to their players, to (Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins), the coaching staff. They just keep playing no matter who’s in.”

The Bucks had trouble connecting on their first-half shots and were under 30 per cent overall near the midway point of the second quarter. Antetokounmpo was three of 11 in the first half, part of Milwaukee’s 32 per cent shooting.

Bane and Melton had 12 apiece as Memphis led 59-46 at the break.

Antetokounmpo came out with much more aggression in the second half making his way to the basket and helping Milwaukee chip into the Memphis lead. But near the three-minute mark, Melton connected on a trio of three-pointers to take the Grizzlies lead to 22.

Memphis led 98-79 entering the fourth.

“It felt like (Antetokounmpo) tried to will us back into the game,” Budenholzer said. “It felt like we had some momentum for some small stretches there in the third quarter, where I felt like we might get back in it.

“But we weren’t able to sustain it.”

For the Grizzlies, they continue to win with Morant on the shelf. They are now 17-2 with their leading scorer not playing. Jenkins credits the success to a balanced team.

“We’re just sticking with our identity,” Jenkins said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a starter, bench, mixed lineups. Whatever we do, we do to the best of our abilities.”