Head coach Sidney Lowe watched helplessly as Milwaukees formidable trio of guard Sam Cassell, forward Glenn Robinson, and guard Ray Allen broke the back of the Memphis Grizzlies in the fourth quarter. The Bucks scored 31 points in the fourth quarter while the Griz put together only 20.
Lowe, however, was upbeat after the game. That was a great effort, he said. [The Bucks] could be the best team in the Eastern Conference. Our guys did a nice job of competing. Lowe said he had to keep focusing on the positives. With this young team you take all the positive things and you build on it, he said.
The Memphis squad actually held the lead going into the third quarter with excellent free-throw shooting, protecting the basketball, bubble-gum, shoe-strings, paper-clips, and grit. However, with such an injury depleted lineup, forward Stromile Swift came back from his own set of injuries in a big way, scoring a career high 27 points. After Swift, the Griz showed a good team effort with guard Jason Williams, forward Shane Battier, and forward Pau Gasol all scoring 19 points apiece. Williams also handed out 13 assists, Gasol pulled down 15 rebounds, and Battier did a little of both with 8 assists and 5 rebounds.
The Milwaukee Bucks showed similar interest in spreading the wealth as Allen scored 26, Robinson scored 23, Cassell scored 20, guard Michael Redd scored 15 points, forward Tim Thomas scored 13, and forward Anthony Mason scored 11 points in the win.
The Grizzlies did manage one of their better efforts in recent games, allowing only seven turnovers, and shooting 23-33 from the free-throw line. On most other night, against many other teams, the Memphis teams performance would be good for a win. But on this night against these Bucks, Memphis could do little against the Bucks scorching 53.2% shooting from the field (the Bucks hit 68.4% in the first quarter).
Lowe attributed the win to Milwaukees big three. All three of those guys are capable of scoring 20 points a night, he said. [The Grizzlies] took on that challenge against three guys who could be All-Stars.
The loss marks Memphis fifth in as many games. The Grizzlies are at home in the Pyramid on Friday, December 21 when they host the NBA champion L.A. Lakers at 7 p.m.