Bucks' Doc Rivers says 'we had some guys in Cabo' after brutal loss to Grizzlies before All-Star break

The Milwaukee Bucks fired Adrian Griffin and hired Doc Rivers to improve an underperforming team. So far, the opposite has happened, and the team reached a new low on Thursday.

Facing a shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies team on the second half of a back-to-back, the Bucks got outworked and outplayed on their way to a brutal 113-110 loss. The loss drops them to 3-7 since Rivers took over for Griffin and gives them a 35-21 record heading into the All-Star break.

Rivers hammered his team after the game, particularly their discipline and effort:

"First play of the game, we gamble for the 50th time in the corner. Guy drives, we have to help, leads to a 3. On our set, two guys forget what we're running. Then we missed a shot and nobody gets back. That's how we start out the third quarter. That tells you all you need to know about where our heads were."

“We had some guys here, we had some guys in Cabo.”

Obviously, those sound like the kind of mistakes that are made when a team isn't well-coached, though it's important to remember Rivers has been on the job for a little under three weeks and might still be trying to tinker with what wasn't working.

You can cut Rivers some slack this early into his Bucks tenure. But probably not enough slack to excuse losing to this Grizzlies team.

The Grizzlies are 20-36 and just played their ninth game in 15 days this month. They were also without more than an entire starting lineup of players, as Ja Morant (shoulder), Marcus Smart (finger), Jaren Jackson Jr. (quad), Desmond Bane (ankle), Luke Kennard (knee) and Brandon Clarke (Achilles) all did not play. The team also just traded away big men Xavier Tillman and Steven Adams.

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Doc Rivers reacts in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Doc Rivers is still figuring things out with the Bucks. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

With all of that talent out, the Grizzlies' starting lineup was Santi Aldama, Ziaire Williams, Trey Jemison, Vince Williams Jr. and Jordan Goodwin. None of those players have been in the NBA longer than since 2021 and only one (Williams) was taken in the first 25 picks of their drafts.

With all due respect to those players, that is not a lineup that should beat a Bucks team with Giannis Antetkounmpo and Damian Lillard, no matter how much Milwaukee is still working to figuring things out. And yet, they couldn't stop Williams (27 points on 9-of-13 shooting) and bench player GG Jackson II (27 points on 10-of-17 shooting).

There was also a matter of execution, such as the Bucks' final play of the game:

The good news is the Bucks now have eight days to rest and regroup. The bad news is Rivers will have to spend part of that time coaching the Eastern Conference All-Star team, thanks to the Bucks' success under Griffin.

It has been a bizarre season for the Bucks, and they will have to resume it on Feb. 23 with a stiff test on the road against the West-leading Minnesota Timberwolves.