Henson, Bucks rally past Grizzlies
MILWAUKEE — Watching Tyreke Evans put on a clinic, the Milwaukee Bucks knew they had one more run left in them.
Evans single-handedly wiped out the Memphis Grizzlies’ seven-point deficit to open the fourth quarter but Milwaukee rode an 11-2 run and held on down the stretch for a 110-103 victory Monday night at the Bradley Center, extending their winning streak to a season-high three games.
“We are playing good lately,” said forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who led the Bucks with 27 points. “We know what we can do to win now. These three wins are great but we’ve got to keep building.”
Eric Bledsoe had a strong outing for his new team, finishing with 15 points, while Khris Middleton and John Henson added 17 points apiece as the Bucks shot 49 percent and made 12 of 22 3-pointers.
“It was confidence boost to see shots go down,” said Middleton, who knocked down 4 of 5 3-point attempts. “You just have to keep shooting and not worry about misses and always believe that next one is going to go down.”
Evans scored 14 of his team-leading 27 points in the final quarter. He made 6 of 8 shots from the floor and Dillon Brooks hit 3 of 4, scoring nine of his 17 in the fourth, but Memphis couldn’t contain Milwaukee on the defensive end and went cold down the stretch, missing seven of its final eight shots.
“We try to pride ourselves on our toughness and I didn’t think we held up our end of the bargain tonight,” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale said. “We were very poor at finishing quarters when we had leads.
“That third quarter, we didn’t come out ready to compete at the level the game was being played at and that quarter was the big difference in the game.”
Up 65-60 at halftime, the Grizzlies went flat in the third quarter, scoring just 12 points while hitting only 5 of 18 shots and going nearly five minutes without a point. The Bucks made the most of the opportunity, getting seven points from Antetokounmpo and taking a 69-68 lead on a John Henson hook shot with 8:38 left in the quarter.
“We didn’t come out with the same intensity we had at the end of the first and in the second quarter,” Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley said. “Defensively, as well. We gave up too many easy shots that let them get into a good rhythm. We didn’t get many good looks on offense, the ball stuck a little bit — there was a little too much one-on-one — then we wound up playing from behind. It’s tough to win on the road when you’re inconsistent.”
Evans closed the fourth with a layup and scored seven straight to open the fourth, trying the game at 84 on a 3-pointer with 10:22 to go.
Matthew Dellavedova stopped the run with a 3 of his own on the other end, but two free throws from Marc Gasol and a 3 from Brooks made it 89-87 with 8:57 left.
The Grizzlies stretched the lead to five on a layup by Evans with 7:39 left before the Bucks recovered and tied the score at 96 on a 3-pointer from Tony Snell — part of an 11-2 run that put the Bucks up 100-96 with 4:58 to play.
“The guys did a great job of understanding time and score, being able to share the ball and able to execute on both ends,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “They did a good job there in the second half.”
While Evans was a one-man show for Memphis down the stretch, Henson made his presence felt for Milwaukee. He scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds in the final quarter and also dished out two assists with a block.
“He gave the bigs a seminar,” Antetokounmpo said. “He did a great job flashing in the high post. Big to big passes. Looked for his own shot. If he keeps doing that he creates more space for everybody. As he gets more minutes the game slows down for him.”
NOTES: Bucks G Eric Bledsoe made his third straight start despite suffering a bone bruise in Milwaukee’s last outing. Coach Jason Kidd had said Bledsoe would be a “game-time decision.” ... Memphis was without JaMychal Green (left ankle), but Jarell Martin, listed as questionable because of a sore right knee, was active and available against the Bucks. ... Tyreke Evans has scored at least 20 points off the bench in each of his last six games, extending his own franchise record. ... The Bucks have won three in a row, trying their longest winning streak of the season.