3 keys for Milwaukee Bucks getting back on track vs Memphis Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - MARCH 04: (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - MARCH 04: (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo. Memphis Grizzlies: Justise Winslow, Xavier Tillman, De'Anthony Melton
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – MARCH 04: (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

Following another disappointing loss, the Milwaukee Bucks are back home for three games that start tonight against the surprising Memphis Grizzlies.

Milwaukee has lost six of its last eight games, including blowing a 14-point lead to the Atlanta Hawks on Monday. Memphis, on the other hand, has won 12 of its last 13 games and is now third in the Western Conference at 31-15.

It will be the first of two games against the Grizzlies this season. The Bucks have gone 3-3 against the Grizzlies in the last three seasons, but haven’t won at home against them since November 2017.

It won’t be easy for the Bucks as they look to kick off their homestand on the right foot and snap out of their recent funk.

How will the Milwaukee Bucks attack the Memphis Grizzlies defense?

Although they have one of the best records in the NBA now, the Grizzlies started the season 9-10 before going on a stretch where they won 10 of 11 (most of which came without Ja Morant).

The primary cause of that relatively slow start was because their defense was the worst in the league with a 115.9 defensive rating, over three points worse than the second-worst defense at the time.

Since then, the Grizzlies have had the league’s best defense over their last 27 games at 102.3, over two points better than the second-best defense. That turnaround is due to two massive factors.

The first is that they had dreadful opponent shooting luck to begin the season. Their opponents were shooting nearly 50 percent on corner 3s and nearly 39 percent on above the break 3s, both were the highest marks in that span, per NBA.com/stats.

In their last 27 games, Grizzlies opponents have shot 33.1 percent from the corners and 32.9 percent on above the break looks, both marks among the lowest in the league.

The second is that Jaren Jackson Jr. has become one of the league’s very best rim protectors in his third full season. Opponents are shooting just over 57 percent in the restricted area against Jackson Jr, less than a percent higher than Cleveland’s Jarrett Allen.

That will be a matchup to watch with Giannis Antetokounmpo looking to get inside and seeing how Jackson Jr responds. He has been known to get in foul trouble but has cut down his fouling this season which has helped his breakout as a great defender.

Grizzlies head coach (and former Bucks assistant) Taylor Jenkins has his defense humming thanks to these two things, so it will be interesting to see how the Bucks’ offense (which is in the bottom half of the league in the last eight games) attacks it.