Make it seven losses in a row for the Bucks (7-31), who lost an 82-77 contest to the Memphis Grizzlies (19-19) Wednesday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in a very-Bucksy game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo sparked a Bucks comeback late in the fourth quarter with a bust-out dunk, a ridiculous alley-oop pass to Larry Sanders, and two free throws, which brought Milwaukee within three points. After a defensive stop, the Bucks got the ball back with 11 seconds left needing a three to tie.
Then, the Bucks happened.
Giannis inbounded the ball to Brandon Knight, who dribbled right to set up a high ball screen from Sanders. Knight was double teamed and forced to dish the ball. He passed to Sanders at the top of the key, who, with six seconds to play, proceeded to face the basket and step into the game-tying three point shot. Needless to say, Sanders was too strong off the back iron, the Grizzlies secured the rebound, and that was the end of it.
Just like they drew it up. Not.
Turnover problems remained a problem for the Bucks, as they had 16 throw aways in this game. Improved was their rebounding performance, as they had a +4 margins on the boards against a talented Memphis front court.
Speaking of Memphis’ front court, the Bucks played a great game defensively, limiting the dynamic duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to just 6 points on 2-14 shooting. The fact that they achieved this and still managed to lose is a testament to how horrendous the Bucks are offensively more than anything.
Stat line of the night goes to Brandon Knight, who in 40 minutes racked up 27 points on 10-17 shooting (5-8 from three) and also added 4 assists and 2 boards. Knight has been healthy for a few weeks now and has since then shown us multiple signs of being a capable point guard of the future for the Bucks. He’s established himself as an efficient scorer and has been solid on the defensive end. It should be interesting to watch Knight’s progression throughout the rest of this lost season.
It was an interesting night for the non-Greek shooting guards. Gary Neal marked up a DNP-CD, which wasn’t too surprising to see. Expect Neal to see minimal minutes until he is traded, which seems almost inevitable at this point.
More surprising was the fact that O.J. Mayo played just 7 minutes, in which he went 0-3 from the field. At the start of the season Mayo was supposed to be the Bucks’ best player. He’s been receiving reduced minutes lately as a result of Giannis starting, but only 7 minutes for one of the most talented players on your roster? You’d have to imagine Mayo is in Larry Drew’s doghouse for some reason. That’s really the most logical explanation.
But hey, look on the bright side!
Larry Sanders shooting what would’ve been the game-tying 3-pointer. Now that’s how you tank. #MILvMEM
— Did Gary Neal Pass? (@DidGaryNealPass) January 16, 2014