GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Rookie Jabari Parker scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, and Milwaukee beat the Memphis Grizzlies 86-83 on Wednesday night in coach Jason Kidd’s preseason debut with the Bucks.
Under new ownership, Milwaukee is rebuilding after a franchise-worst 67 losses last year. Parker, the second overall pick in this year’s NBA draft, is one of the cornerstones.
The poised Parker showed flashes of athleticism. Three dunks in the fourth quarter helped rile up the crowd after Milwaukee rallied from an early 15-point deficit.
Memphis sat most of its key players down the stretch. Early on, Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph gave Parker trouble with his mid-range jumper.
Randolph finished with nine points.
There were several lead changes in the fourth, with Memphis going with a mainly young and unproven lineup against what figures to be the top players in Kidd’s rotation.
Parker played nearly the entire fourth quarter, seemingly gaining energy as the final minutes ticked down.
With 3:48 left, Parker drove the baseline on Earl Clark before faking a pass that froze Clark for a moment. Parker went back to his left for a dunk that tied it at 75.
Khris Middleton’s 3 from the wing with about 21 seconds left gave the Bucks the lead for good at 84-83. Clark then missed a 3, and the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo hit two foul shots for a three-point lead.
Milwaukee center Larry Sanders, playing his first game since February after suffering an eye injury, finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
The Bucks are hoping a healthy Sanders will provide a shot-blocking presence in the middle to go with the 6-foot-8 Parker. Add in the 19-year-old Antetokounmpo, a 6-11 forward, and Milwaukee has the makings of a long and potentially dangerous front line.
In his first outing, Parker showed athletic prowess that the Bucks haven’t had in years — possibly not since Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson played for Milwaukee in the early 2000s.
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