If revenge truly is sweet, the Milwaukee Bucks are dining on a high-sugar diet.
The Bucks improved to 5-0 in rematch games against teams that have beaten them this season, delivering an emphatic 111-101 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score.
The Bucks (32-12) went on a 33-9 run in the third quarter and led by as many as 31 in the fourth quarter before the Memphis bench won garbage time.
Coupled with Toronto’s loss at Boston, the Bucks again have the league’s best record. Milwaukee is 14-3 in its last 17 games.
Eric Bledsoe scored 12 points in a 19-0 blitz that followed a timeout. D.J. Wilson added a pair of 3-point baskets as the Bucks kept pouring it on in the third, going from a 59-58 deficit to a 91-68 lead.
Even more impressive, the game-turning run came with Giannis Antetokounmpo on the bench after picking up his fourth foul. Wilson entered for Antetokounmpo and immediately became a force on the defensive end. After Bledsoe scored 12 of the 19-0 run, Wilson followed up with a pair of 3-pointers and an alley-oop dunk.
Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 27 points and 11 rebounds in just 21 minutes. Bledsoe finished with 16 points and Wilson posted a career-high 13 as eight Bucks scored at least nine points.
The Bucks suffered a home loss to the Grizzlies back on Nov. 14. But as has been the case all season long, they made an emphatic statement in the rematch. The Bucks have won the follow-up game against teams that have beaten them by margins of 43, 13, 14, 38 and 10 points. And Wednesday’s 10-point margin was 31 before garbage time.
The Bucks jumped to a 14-4 lead in the first quarter and led by as much as 26-12 on Wilson’s 3-pointer, before settling on a 28-20 lead. The Grizzlies chipped it down to 50-45 at the half — snapping a Bucks streak of nine straight quarters won — and used a 7-2 run to take a 59-58 lead on Marc Gasol’s 3-pointer with 8:09 left in the period.
From there, Bledsoe and the Bucks simply took over. The Grizzlies used three timeouts and just could not stop the Milwaukee momentum.
Memphis (19-25) scored the final five points of the third to pull within 91-73,
The Bucks took that as a challenge and opened the fourth quarter with a 17-3 run before calling off the hounds at 108-77 on Sterling Brown’s 3-pointer with 7:58 left. The Bucks scored just three points the rest of the way — a Pat Connaughton 3-pointer — as their starters watched from the bench.
Omri Casspi scored 17 to lead the Grizzlies, who shot just 38.9% (37 for 95). Not that it mattered, but the Grizzlies closed the game on a 24-3 run.