Sun04202014

Sports

Griz work to purge ‘preseason sloppiness’

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With four preseason games left, the Memphis Grizzlies are looking to cut down on turnovers and careless mistakes.

The "preseason sloppiness" will cease, Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger said on Tuesday after the team defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 102-99 at FedExForum.

Now 2-2, the Grizzlies entered the game averaging 20 turnovers but only turned the ball over 13 times. They played without Mike Miller, Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos, Tayshaun Prince, Willie Reed and newly-signed guard Andre Barrett. The team will play its next three tilts on the road before finishing the preseason against Houston on Oct. 25 at FedExForum.

Against Milwaukee, Quincy Pondexter topped his career single-game high of 17 points, leading all scorers with 24 points in his first start of the season.

"He had a very good summer, came in in great shape, and had a lot of confidence," Joerger said of Pondexter. "He got his feet wet the other night, and then tonight, getting to start, I think it's good confidence for a guy. I like what he brings as far as being able to shoot the basketball."

Marc Gasol and Jerryd Bayless finished with 18 points.

Milwaukee (0-4) came into the game seriously looking for a win but failed to execute in the final seconds down the stretch. The Bucks only brought back four team members from last season and they've added former Grizz guard O.J. Mayo to the mix.

The Grizzlies showed grit in pulling out the victory. Memphis led by as many as 11 points. There were seven lead changes and the game was tied eight times. Down 97-92 with one minute left to play, the Grizzlies reeled off 10 straight points to take a 102-97 lead with three seconds left.

That stretch included a game-changing play courtesy of Grizz point guard Mike Conley, who drove for a layoff only to be fouled by Mayo. Conley got the shot off, with the basketball slowly rolling around the rim before falling in. Conley made the free throw, ringing up a three-point play and triggering screams from the crowd of 11,164 as the Grizzlies took the lead 98-97.

"We were in a situation there, down two with a six- or seven-second differential," said Joerger. "You need to execute whatever you run. We were trying to get a quick one so we would have the last opportunity whether we scored on the first one or not, and we did. Tonight we were good against Milwaukee executing out of the timeouts."

Brandon Knight led the Bucks in scoring with 19 points. He also added four rebounds and five assists.

The Grizzlies' losses have been to the Chicago Bulls and the Dallas Mavericks, with wins over Maccabi Haifa and the Bucks.

They will hit the road to play the Orlando Magic, the Atlanta Hawks and the Toronto Raptors. The Grizzlies open the season in San Antonio against the Spurs on Oct. 30. The home opener is Nov. 1 versus the Detroit Pistons.