Bucks-Grizzlies Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 19, 2012
It was a good thing the Memphis Grizzlies were able to prove why they're statistically the NBA's best defensive team their last time out given their shooting woes. Memphis hopes for a much better offensive performance as it looks to beat the visiting Milwaukee Bucks for the fifth straight time Wednesday night. The Grizzlies (16-6) have bounced back from a season-worst three-game skid by winning their last two, though they shot only 37.5 percent and matched a season low for points in an 80-71 victory over Chicago on Monday. They had six turnovers and shot 4 of 22 in the first quarter, but the bench picked things up in the second as Wayne Ellington scored all of his 11 points. Mike Conley had a team-high 17 points while Zach Randolph (4 for 14, 10 points) and Rudy Gay (5 of 13, 12 points) each struggled to find their shooting touch. ''I thought it was huge what they did,'' Conley said of the reserves. ''They came in and changed the game, changed the tempo. They got it going up and down a little bit. Got the ball movement where we like it to be. ''I think the first unit saw what they were doing, and what they were able to do. (The starters) got back in the game and tried to mimic it.'' Memphis is shooting only 42.3 percent over its last five. ''We'll take it,'' said Randolph, who had 25 points and 16 rebounds in Saturday's 99-86 win at Utah. ''It wasn't pretty, but we got the win.'' The Grizzlies mainly shined on defense, setting new season bests for points allowed and opponent's field goal percentage (37.3). They're allowing an NBA-best 90.0 points per game. "When you look at a game like this here, 37 percent shooting by both teams, I don't know how it looks to the fans but to me as a coach it's just a good basketball game," coach Lionel Hollins said. "They took away our big people and we were still fortunate to get a win. We'll take the win and get ready for Wednesday." Randolph finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds and Conley added 13 points and 12 assists in the Grizzlies' 108-90 win at Milwaukee on Nov. 7, marking their fourth straight win in the series. Brandon Jennings scored a team-high 19 points in that contest, though his best performance came Tuesday when he scored a season-high 34 in Milwaukee's 98-93 win over Indiana. Mike Dunleavy scored 17 points off the bench after missing the previous seven games with a bruised left knee. ''I felt very comfortable out there,'' Dunleavy said. ''I feel like my condition is a little bit down, but I felt good. I hate missing games, but it's good to be back and good to get a win.'' The Bucks (13-10) have won five of six and bounced back from Saturday's 111-85 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, when Jennings hit only 3 of 13 from the field and scored nine points. He played 44 minutes Tuesday. ''Brandon was good from the get-go,'' Dunleavy said. ''He made big shots and very big plays. That's why he's Brandon.'' Jennings is averaging 22.8 points in five career games versus the Grizzlies, though he's shooting just 39.8 percent in those contests.
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