The Memphis Grizzlies and Milwaukee Bucks have overcome occasional struggles to get off to solid starts.
After both pulled out tough victories in their last contests, Milwaukee looks to open 3-0 for the first time in seven years while ending a three-game losing streak to visiting Memphis on Wednesday night.
Milwaukee opened with a 99-88 win at Boston on Friday, then got a Brandon Jennings 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Cleveland 105-102 at home Saturday.
The Bucks, who were outrebounded and committed 15 turnovers against the Cavaliers, trailed in the fourth quarter and appeared headed to overtime after allowing Kyrie Irving's layup with 0.7 seconds left.
``It was actually an ugly game for us,' said Jennings, who had 13 points and 13 assists. "It wasn't our best performance but if we want to get over the hump these are the games we need to win.'
Overshadowed by Jennings' effort were Monta Ellis' 23 points and Mike Dunleavy's 29 points and 12 rebounds. Coach Scott Skiles plans to continue bringing Dunleavy off the bench to add another scoring threat to the second unit.
Fellow reserve Larry Sanders scored a career-high 17 points for the Bucks, who opened 3-0 in 2005-06.
``To be 2-0 right now feels good,' said Dunleavy, who went 6 of 7 from 3-point range. ``You can't do any better than that. We feel like obviously we have a lot of room to improve, but it's a nice start.'
The Grizzlies trailed at halftime Monday, but Marc Gasol's 22 points and 10 rebounds helped it earn a 103-94 victory over Utah. Memphis has won two straight after a season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Clippers despite shooting 41.7 percent and committing an average of 15.7 turnovers in the first three games.
"In the second half we really ramped it up," coach Lionel Hollins said. "We really got on our game. Everybody started doing what they do."
Zach Randolph added 16 points and Quincy Pondexter scored 14 to lead a bench that contributed valuable production as the starters got off to a slow start.
"That is what we need and that is going to help us," Randolph said. "Quincy came in tonight and had a good game, and other guys contributed.
"As we progress and go on to other guys, everybody is going to continue to get better, including myself."
Memphis has relied on a balanced attack to get off to its quick start, with five players scoring in double figures in each of the last two games. Four Grizzlies are averaging at least 14.7 points.
"We're a team. One night it's one guy, another night it's another guy. We just feed off of whoever has it going," Hollins said. " We're just trying to score as a team to win, it doesn't really matter who does it."
Jennings had 24 points but Gasol finished with 13 and 15 rebounds in Memphis' 99-95 victory over Milwaukee in the most recent meeting March 31. The Grizzlies' last two victories over the Bucks have come by a combined seven points.
Milwaukee may have rookie power forward John Henson available Wednesday after the first-round pick missed the first two games with a sprained left knee.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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