MILWAUKEE -- With three of their first four games this season on the road, the Memphis Grizzlies knew starting strong would be a difficult task. But after their 108-90 victory Wednesday at Milwaukee, that stretch is behind them and the Grizzlies have settled into the NBA grind with a 3-1 record.
"(Being) 4-0 would be better but it's better than 1-3," said center Marc Gasol. "Historically, we've had some slow starts but this year, we've come out a lot stronger."
Gasol was one of five Grizzlies to finish with double-digit scoring, pouring in 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. Zach Randolph had 18 points and 13 rebounds for his fourth double-double in as many games this season while Rudy Gay had 17 and Mike Conley 13. Marreese Speights came off the bench and scored 18 to round out a balanced offensive attack that shot 53 percent from the field.
"We just played really well," Memphis Coach Lionel Hollins said. "We shot the ball well. We shot threes well. We matched them at the three-point line and they did not shoot the ball well."
With the Grizzlies' size advantage making for a major obstacle, the Bucks' starting backcourt of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings struggled to find a rhythm. Unable to penetrate, their shots were forced back to the perimeter and combined, the duo connected on 11 of 38 shots (22.4 percent) with Jennings leading all players with 19 points and Ellis finishing with 15.
"They are so big," Jennings said. "Gasol is so smart, once he gets to the top of the key, he's able to make passes and shoot the jumper. If he doesn't have anything, he's just moving it. They are just two smart bigs. Randolph down there is just a beast."
Overall, the Bucks shot just 38.5 percent from the field.
"We must have missed 15 layups," Milwaukee Coach Scott Skiles said. "We were right at the rim. They had all the energy, they had all the toughness. They executed better so they took it to us."
A 13-4 run to open the second half helped the Grizzlies build a 68-49 lead with 7:27 left in the third quarter. The Bucks came roaring back with a 12-2 run of their own, getting within 12 at 71-59 with 3:12 left in the quarter.
Milwaukee finally got within single-digits late in the quarter. After picking up the steal, Jennings broke down the open court and was wrapped up by Speights underneath the basket. Speights was called for a flagrant foul and Jennings hit both free throws to make it a 75-66 game. The Bucks kept possession and got within eight on a Larry Sanders dunk with one minute left in the quarter.
"We found a way to come back but it still wasn't enough," Jennings said.
That was the closest Milwaukee would get the rest of the way. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Quincy Poindexter and Wayne Ellington put Memphis up 81-68 after three quarters.
Memphis kept Milwaukee off the board for nearly four minutes to open the fourth. The Bucks' first points in the quarter came on rookie John Henson's first NBA basket, making it an 87-72 game at the 8:04 mark.
"We withstood all that they had tonight," Hollins said. "We were fortunate because they are a good team but they just didn't shoot the ball well. They had a lot of open looks."
Ellis opened the game 1-for-10 from the field, his only basket coming from a goaltending call on Gay, and shot just 3-for-12 in the first two quarters.
NOTES: Backup point guard Beno Udrih was inactive for Milwaukee after injuring his right quadriceps during practice earlier in the week. ... Randolph entered the game as the leading rebounder in the NBA (16.0 rebounds per game). ... John Henson, Milwaukee's first-round draft choice (10th overall) was active for the first time this season he entered the game with 8:43 left to play in the third quarter and finished with three points, three rebounds and two blocks in 17 minutes of action ... Conley finished with a season high 12 assists.