Giannis leads Bucks past short-handed Grizzlies
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and 15 rebounds, and Khris Middleton scored 27 to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 126-114 victory over the short-handed Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
Memphis, which had won 12 of 13, was without two of its leading scorers in Dillon Brooks and Desmond Bane. Brooks, averaging 18.4 points per game, sat out with a left ankle sprain, while Bane (17.7 ppg) was in the NBA’s health and safety protocol.
Ja Morant had 33 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 29 for Memphis in the opener of a four-game road swing. Without Bane, sixth in the NBA with 131 3-pointers, the Grizzlies were just 9 of 40 from beyond the arc.
Morant capped a seven-point run with a drive down the lane to pull the Grizzlies to 114-111 with 2:32 left, but George Hill hit two free throws and Antetokounmpo scored six straight to make it 122-111.
Hill and Bobby Portis each had 14 points for Milwaukee, which had dropped six of eight.
Memphis pulled within 96-89 to open the fourth quarter, but De’Anthony Melton missed a pair of free throws. The Bucks responded with a layup by Hill and Middleton’s baseline jumper to make it 102-91.
Middleton’s 3-pointer put the Bucks up 108-93 with just under seven minutes remaining.
The Bucks led 73-59 when Antetokounmpo picked up his fourth foul with 8:30 left in the third quarter, but the Grizzlies were unable to capitalize. Milwaukee led 88-75 when Antetokounmpo returned after five minutes.
Milwaukee went 9 of 19 from beyond the arc in the first half en route to a 61-47 lead at the break. The Grizzlies were 4 for 23 from 3-point range.
Antetokounmpo had 15 points, including a pair of 3s, to help the Bucks to a 36-30 lead after one quarter.
GRIZZLIES SIGN HARRISON: Memphis signed G Shaquille Harrison to a 10-day contract under the NBA’s COVID-19-related hardship exception. Harrison (6-foot-4, 195 pounds) has appeared in 175 games over five seasons with Phoenix, Chicago, Utah, Denver and Brooklyn, averaging 5.2 points. He played in two games for the Nets earlier this season.
TIP-INS: The Bucks’ G Jrue Holiday, who missed the previous six games (one in health and safety protocols, five with a left ankle injury) was active after working out before the game. He entered with 5:04 left in the first quarter.
The Bucks were 2-4 during his most recent absence, and 4-9 overall in games he’s missed. Holiday played 22 minutes, scoring nine points on 2-of-8 shooting with four assists and five rebounds.
UP NEXT: The Bucks host the Chicago Bulls on Friday.