By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies handed Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks one of their worst beatings in the NBA, 142-101, last December 16, 2022, in another inter-conference showdown.
From the get-go, the Grizzlies proved they were the hungrier team after pouncing on the Bucks in the first quarter with a 33-18 lead.
Memphis’ firepower proved to be too much for Milwaukee as the duo of Morant and Dillion Brooks tortured their backcourt defense that missed the presence of defensive menace Jrue Holiday due to a non-covid illness.
Aside from the 1-2 punch’s offensive efficiency, the Grizzlies’ dominance in the paint was a key factor to their win as Steven Adams, Zaire Williams, and Brandon Clarke imposed their will in the shaded lane.
The Grizzlies’ 86 total points in the paint pounded Milwaukee during the four-quarter stretch and also topped the rebounding department with 56 compared to the Bucks’ 39 collected.
Despite the defensive adjustments head coach Mike Budenholzer deployed to Milwaukee in the second half, Morant and the Grizzlies still came out flying and continued putting on a show in front of their fans.
It was still Memphis that won the third-quarter battle after outscoring Milwaukee, 47-30, and already established a 46-point lead heading into the final quarter.
It was pretty much done soon as the final canto began after coach Budenholzer started to pull his starters away one substitution at a time.
Morant led Memphis with a stellar triple-double performance of 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists while Brooks added 18 points.
Antetokounmpo had a solid outing for the Bucks after delivering 19 points, six rebounds, and five assists but still wasn’t enough to kick-start a miracle run at the start of the fourth.