Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/20

Game 1: Friday, December 20th
Game 2: Sunday, February 16th

Bucks 84

(10-15, 3-10 away)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:00 PM ET, December 20, 2002

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIL 19 28 23 1484
    MEM 25 16 23 3195

    Top Performers

    Milwaukee: A. Mason 14 Pts, 8 Reb, 5 Ast

    Memphis: P. Gasol 18 Pts, 14 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Blk

    Person scores 12 of game-high 23 points in fourth

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies are starting to believe in themselves -- even when trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter.

    Wesley Person

    Wesley Person scored 23 points, including 12 straight in the final period, as Memphis overcame a 10-point deficit to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 95-84 Friday night.

    Milwaukee led 76-66 with just under nine minutes to play, but Memphis outscored the Bucks 26-6 in the final 7:23. The Bucks, who lost their third straight, didn't score in the final 2:40.

    "I'm just one of those guys who believe every time I take a shot, it's going in,'' said Person, whose fourth-quarter scoring led the Grizzlies to their Dec. 16 victory over Golden State. "I just love big moments. A lot of guys can play when it's pickup games. I just love it when the lights come on and people are in the stands.''

    Memphis won its fifth straight home game. The Grizzlies are 8-7 since losing their first 13 games.

    Person, the league leader in 3-point accuracy, was 4-for-4 from behind the arc and 8-of-12 overall. Pau Gasol added 18 points and 14 rebounds, Drew Gooden finished with 13 points and Jason Williams had 11 points and 13 assists.

    Sam Cassell had 19, Tim Thomas finished with 18 and Ray Allen and Anthony Mason added 14 each for Milwaukee.

    ''(Person) was like a time bomb waiting to go off,'' Allen said. "I had my eye on him. The minute I turned my head, he got a shot off, and that was the start of it.''

    Bucks coach George Karl was lamenting before the game that his team has had trouble finishing off opponents.

    Sure enough, they failed again.

    "Lately, we haven't been able to step up when teams come after us,'' Karl said. "I think it is where we are in the season, and our confidence level isn't where it should be. They have an offensive weapon in Person going, and we didn't challenge him.''

    The Bucks closed the first half with a 15-2 run to erase a seven-point deficit and take a 47-41 advantage at halftime. Allen had the first seven points in the stretch to tie the game 39-39. Mason, who had 12 in the half, scored five in the run.

    "We had all these turnovers in the first half,'' Memphis coach Hubie Brown said of the Grizzlies' 13 miscues. "We missed layups, so we could never get in a groove early.''

    In the third quarter, the Bucks built their lead to 11 -- their biggest of the game -- with under three minutes to play. Dunks by Gasol and Stromile Swift and another basket by Swift cut the lead to 70-64 entering the fourth.

    Fast breaks off turnovers early in the final quarter allowed Milwaukee to build its lead back to 10. Midway through the period, Person scored 12 straight Grizzlies' points to key the big finish.

    Aside from Person's shooting, the Grizzlies went to a zone defense and disrupted the Bucks' offense down the stretch. Brown noted that while Memphis was in the zone, the Bucks shot only 3-of-20.

    The defensive strategies, the successful comebacks and better rebounding have the Grizzlies trusting in each other.

    "We have a very good shooter this year,'' Gasol said of Person. "Down the stretch we are gaining much more confidence, and we really believe we can win.''

    Game notes

    Cassell had to take a bathroom break before tipoff and was replaced in the starting lineup by Kevin Ollie. ... The Bucks didn't commit their first turnover until 4:43 remained in the first half when Mason was called for traveling. Memphis had committed nine by that point. ... Bucks reserve F Jason Caffey did not play because of an injured right finger. ... Person had a four-point play midway through the third period, only the fifth such play in Grizzlies history. ... Bucks coach George Karl bemoaned his team's play in December, saying they miss Toni Kukoc (right thumb surgery) ... The Bucks are 2-7 in December. ... Jason Williams was 2-of-2 from the free throw line making him 28-of-29 for the season. He has not missed a free throw since Nov. 9, a streak of 26 straight. ...The Bucks are 0-5 when scoring 89 or less.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 84 95
    FGM-FGA 32-86 (.372) 36-75 (.480)
    3PM-3PA 5-20 (.250) 9-18 (.500)
    FTM-FTA 15-17 (.882) 14-15 (.933)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-39 7-50
    Assists 22 30
    Turnovers 9 20
    Steals 10 5
    Blocks 1 5
    Fast Break Points 5 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (0/0) 19 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Anthony Mason Mason
    Points: 14
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Pau Gasol Gasol
    Points: 18
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1