Sat. Final: Grizzlies 107, Bucks 102
By Todd Welter
Next game: Wednesday, Apr. 8th vs. Atlanta
Charlie Bell was having a good day right up until eight seconds left in the Bucks' 107-102 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at the Bradley Center. Bell had a chance to tie the game with a wide-open three-point attempt but he air-balled the shot.
"I wish I could have shot just a little bit better and made that last one," Bell said. "I had a good look. I wasn't sure what the time was on the clock. I kind of rushed it a little bit. I thought it was good when it left my hand but it was a little short."
Before that point, Bell was having a really good day even while the rest of the team was not. He scored 23 points along with eight rebounds and was 5-of-7 from three-point range before the miss. He even won a friendly wager over fellow teammate Charlie Villanueva when Bell's alma mater, Michigan State defeated UConn in the Final Four. Villanueva will now have to wear a Michigan State jersey at the next practice thanks to his alma mater losing.
Coming up short has been a common theme during the Bucks' tailspin after the All-Star break. Milwaukee was in full control of their playoff destiny but have gone 6-17 from that point and now need a lot of help for a possible shot at the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We were 29-31 so we've been a little perplexed as to what exactly happened," Bucks head coach Scott Skiles said. "If my math is correct we're 3-15 since then. We've had too many games like this where we haven't had the intensity and professionalism we need."
Bell seemed to have an explanation for the Bucks' downturn.
"March just fell apart on the defensive end. I think defensively we weren't playing as hard. Offensively we just hit a rut. For a second our offense was really going, since then it's been sputtering."
The offense sputtered for the most of the game but Milwaukee somehow found a way to mount a furious fourth-quarter rally. The Bucks were down by 15 in the final quarter but charged back with a 23-13 run. Richard Jefferson sparked the comeback with 12 points down the stretch on his way to a team-high 24 points.
Rudy Gay scored a game-high 26 points for Memphis while Marc Gasol added 19 points and Mike Conley contributed 17 points.
The Grizzlies' (22-54) three-point shooting gave the Bucks (32-46) problems all night as Memphis shot 61.1% from long range. Skiles thought it was more than just Memphis three-point shooting that hurt Milwaukee.
"We didn't come ready to play. It's that simple. We were lethargic."
The second quarter was brutal for the Bucks as Memphis outscored Milwaukee 38-18. Gay and Conley hurt the Bucks the most in that quarter as they combined to score 20 points and hit five three-pointers. The Grizzlies ended the half up 54-38.
"We just came out and laid an egg in the first half," Bell said. "We had no life. No energy. They came out and pretty much did what they wanted to do."
Memphis ran its lead up to 20 in the third but the Bucks were able to trim the lead down to seven thanks to a 16-3 run. Memphis headed into the fourth quarter with an 82-73 lead.
The Bucks go back to the drawing board on Wednesday night against Atlanta.