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BUCKS 107, GRIZZLIES 103

Near-miss leaves Memphis in Western Conference cellar.

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MILWAUKEE -- Sam Cassell put his money where his mouth was Thursday night. Cassell celebrated his new contract extension with 29 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, leading the Milwaukee Bucks to a 107-103 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Ray Allen also scored 29 points and made some big plays down the stretch for the Bucks, who trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half, then blew a 13-point lead before snapping a two-game losing streak. In the fifth year of a six-year, $21 million contract, Cassell signed an extension Thursday that he said last week was worth $17 million over three years. He had been unhappy with his deal for some time and was not shy about letting anyone know about it. Perhaps bouyed by further financial security, Cassell had one of his best games of the season. He made 11-of-21 shots, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Allen, who is headed to the All-Star Game, scored six points in the final 2 1/2 minutes. His free throws gave the Bucks the lead for good at 97-95 and he had a driving layup, steal and two more from the line that widened the advantage to 104-99 with 15 seconds to go. Michael Redd scored 15 points for the Bucks (28-18), who held their lead over Toronto in the Central Division by sweeping the season series from the Grizzlies. Rookie Pau Gasol had 30 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis, which was coming off a home win over Utah but failed in a bid for its first winning streak in nearly a month. At 14-35, the Grizzlies have the worst record in the Western Conference.

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