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Grizzlies clinch spot in play-in tournament with win over Bucks

Memphis will limp into the play-in tournament and face either the Suns or Trail Blazers over the weekend. Here’s a quick recap from Thursday.

Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies drives to the basket as Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics defends during the first quarter at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 11, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies clinched a spot in the play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference with a 116-96 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.

Memphis meant business in this game and benefited from Giannis Antetokounmpo being suspended for one game after headbutting Moritz Wagner in his last appearance. The absence of this season’s Defensive Player of the Year allowed the Grizzles to get going offensively.

Jonas Valanciunas had a monster night and flirted recorded a triple-double. He notched 26 points, 19 rebounds, and 12 assists to tally a game-high 73.75 DKFP. He scored efficiently, dominated the boards, and distributed the ball all over to keep Memphis in front.

Dillon Brooks, who has been struggling with his efficiency lately, shot lights out against Milwaukee. He led all scorers with 31 points on 12-of-18 shooting to tally 40 DKFP. He was 4-for-7 beyond the arc and helped offset Ja Morant’s poor shooting night. Morant chipped in with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 10 rebounds on 5-of-17 shooting. He tallied 44.7 DKFP.

The Bucks seemed wary of wearing key players out in a meaningless game, so starters didn’t log many minutes. Brook Lopez’s paced the Bucks in points (19) and rebounds (9). Frank Mason had a team high 40 DKFP with 18 points while Donte DiVincenzo and Khris Middleton also reached double-digits in points.

The Grizzlies will have to wait for the result of the Portland Trail Blazers’ game against the Brooklyn Nets before they know whether they’ll face Portland or the Phoenix Suns in a play-in tournament.