Memphis, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Nick Calathes' first career NBA start resulted in his best game since he entered the league.
The University of Florida product had 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 99-90 win over the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night.
Zach Randolph totaled 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Marc Gasol contributed 19 points for Memphis, which beat the Bucks for a seventh straight time. The Grizzlies have won six in a row overall and 11 of their last 12 games.
A second-round draft pick out of the University of Florida in 2009, Calathes was appearing in just his 35th NBA game. Subbing for an injured Mike Conley, Calathes went 4-of-5 from 3-point range. His previous career-high was 11 points, Jan. 25 against Houston.
"I knew coach had a lot of confidence in me. He started me. That showed me that he had a lot of confidence in me. My job was to run the team," Calathes said.
Brandon Knight had 23 points, six boards and seven assists for the Bucks, who suffered their sixth straight defeat.
Conley suffered a sprained his ankle in Friday night's win at Minnesota, leaving Calathes to take over at point guard. Conley is expected to be sidelined for the next week, and a performance like Saturday may lend to more court time for Calathes.
James Johnson, who had 14 points, put the Grizzlies ahead for good at 73-71 early in the fourth with a layup. Calathes then drilled a 3-pointer with 9:32 remaining. Another long-distance shot from Calathes made it 83-73 with 6:23 to go, and the Bucks couldn't get closer than seven points the rest of the night.
Early on, it looked as if the Bucks would run away as they grabbed a 10-1 lead. The Grizzlies went back in front later in the quarter, but trailed 24-17 after 12 minutes.
Milwaukee led by as many as 13 in the second quarter and claimed a 49-43 edge at the break.
The visitors were up as many as 11 in the third, but the hosts closed the difference to 69-67 at the end of the period following a layup from Randolph in the final minute.
"We had the energy in the first half, but in the second half, we didn't, and particularly not in the third quarter," Milwaukee coach Larry Drew said. "We had stretches where we showed signs of energy, but we didn't sustain it. It's what we talked about at halftime -- sustaining what we accomplished in the first two quarters."