MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — For one night, Nick Calathes provided a big reason to believe the Memphis Grizzlies might be able to withstand the loss of Mike Conley on a short-term basis.
Calathes, starting in place of the injured Conley, scored a career-high 22 points and the surging Grizzlies defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 99-90 on Saturday.
"Mike must have touched (Calathes') hand or given him a good-luck touch because that man was shooting the lights out of that ball," said Memphis reserve forward James Johnson, who had 14 points. "For him to come in and do that was huge for us. We needed that."
Zach Randolph had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis, which has won a season-best six straight and 11 of 12 overall. Marc Gasol scored 19.
Brandon Knight led Milwaukee with 23 points, including 18 in the second half. He also had seven assists and six rebounds.
Ersan Ilyasova finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Bucks, who have lost six in a row. Khris Middleton scored 12 points, while Larry Sanders and Caron Butler finished with 10 each.
Milwaukee had a lead for most of the first three quarters but it slipped away in the fourth.
"In the fourth quarter, we got down by a margin of five," Knight said. "We were able to keep it there for a little bit, and then it went to 10. From that point, it was tough to really get in a rhythm."
The Grizzlies were playing their first game without Conley, the starting point guard who sprained his ankle in Friday night's win at Minnesota. The team announced before the game that Conley will miss at least a week.
Even Conley recognized the team's effort, tweeting praise to Calathes after the game with the hashtag "WinWithoutMike."
Memphis shot 56 percent in the second half and outscored the Bucks 56-41. Calathes made all three of his shots from outside the arc.
"We played 2½ good quarters, we just didn't finish it," Bucks coach Larry Drew said, later adding: "We had the energy in the first half, but in the second half we didn't, particularly in the third quarter."