Postgame Notebook: Grizzlies 90, Bucks 80



Jerryd Bayless was strong off the bench against the Bucks.
The Lead: Early sloppiness with turnovers (10 at the half), poor transition offense, and other missed attempts around the rim allowed the Bucks to hang close for awhile in this nationally televised game, even as the Grizzlies defense was holding them to only 26 percent shooting.

But, in the third quarter, the Grizzlies started converting those fastbreak opportunities with better spacing, better passing, and better finishing, scoring 16 of 23 third-quarter points in transition to build a commanding lead that the Bucks never really challenged.

While the Grizzlies' own offense (41% shooting, 16 turnovers, 3-8 from long range) still doesn't look at the top tier level it was early in the season, the team as a whole seems to have lifted itself from last week's funk with three straight wins against teams (Jazz, Bulls, now Bucks) with winning records.

Man of the Match: In a good overall team effort, I'm giving the nod to Jerryd Bayless. Bayless has been struggling over the past few weeks, but did a nice job leading a bench unit that got extended minutes. (Marc Gasol led starters with only 32 minutes).

Bayless created three straight scores in the early second quarter — assisting on a Marc Gasol lay-up and then making consecutive mid-range jumpers — to give the Grizzlies a lead that they never relinquished, and generally played with more confidence and effectiveness than we've seen in a while. (And, perhaps not coincidentally, with seemingly more latitude from Lionel Hollins.)

Bayless finished with 8 points (4-7 shooting), 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in 19 minutes, with my favorite play a really nice crosscourt pass to Quincy Pondexter for a spot-up corner three. I'm hopeful that we're starting to see Bayless settling into his role as Mike Conley's back-up and occasional sidekick, checking a box that the Grizzlies really shouldn't have to be concerned about.

Nightly Number: I'm betting Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis are happy they don't have to face the Grizzlies again this season. After shooting a combined 11-38 against the Grizzlies in Milwaukee back in early November, the pair started — gulp — 0-17 tonight en route to a final tally of 10-40. As I suggested before the game, with Ellis and Jennings struggling, the Bucks didn't have enough other options to generate points against what is currently the league's best defense.

The Match-Up: With small forward size, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute would seem to be incapable of hanging with Zach Randolph on the block, but this match-up was close to a draw early, with Mbah a Moute holding his own defensively and using his quickness to drive on Randolph. But if Mbah a Moute held up defensively, neither he nor anyone else on the Bucks could keep Randolph (15 points on 6-16 shooting, 17 rebounds) off the boards.

Elements of Style: Speaking of Z-Bo, credit him with the play of the game: A one-handed dunk on Bucks big Ekpe Udoh. The rare Randolph dunk is usually uncontested. Can't remember ever really seeing him posterize someone.

Where They Stand: The Grizzlies improve to 17-6, moving past the San Antonio Spurs into third place in the Western Conference.

Looking Ahead: The Grizzlies complete the current homestand with a big one Friday against division rival Dallas, which will bring a hot O.J. Mayo back to town for his first Memphis game in a different uniform.

Announced Attendance: 16,007, which has to be a franchise record for a weeknight game against Milwaukee.

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