The winning streak with Rajon Rondo starting and Nikola Mirotic back in the rotation ended at 1, as the Bulls lost 98-91 to the Memphis Grizzlies.
These are two of the poorer 3-point shooting teams in the league (the Bulls are the worst, in case you forgot) but had more makes than usual in this one, hitting 11 apiece and both over 35% for the game. But I wouldn’t call it too pleasant of a watch, as it was also very foul-y. I also found it personally unpleasant that Rondo was so aggressive with the ball, as I don’t doubt the telecast ate it up (I was smart and was #LoveItMute tonight).
And to be totally truthful, Rondo was ok. He did push the pace and had 8 assists (a couple nice transition lobs) to zero turnovers in a whopping 35 minutes of action. And he hit 3 corner threes again, plus was getting to a lot of loose balls on offense. However, Rondo also took 16 shots to get to his 17 points, and that’s too many Rondo shots. His defense was also fairly poor throughout including his typical lazy fouling.
His counterpart, Mike Conley, had a hell of a game for the Grizzlies. The PG finished with 27 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Though it should be noted that he got to feast on not only Rondo but Michael Carter-Williams, who inexplicably (well there is an explanation: Hoiberg is bad) was in the backup PG role.
But Conley also made Jimmy Butler look bad on occasion as well, including this late make:
Marc Gasol also had a clutch basket...or five, in this one, overcoming a poor start to finish with 27 points himself. I actually thought Robin Lopez was holding his own for much of the game but a couple late defensive switches had Gasol open in space and he delivered.
Meanwhile, Rondo was the leading scorer for the Bulls, so that explains a lot. Butler was held in relative check by Tony Allen (4-16 shooting, 0-3 from distance), and before Dwyane Wade exited the game with an elbow injury he was abysmal, going 3-11 on terrible attempts and blatant gambling on defense.
Wade wasn’t alone with the gambling, as Butler was caught late on one that led to a Gasol three. There was also this crucial defensive possession.
It was a bit of a late collapse for the Bulls, who were hanging close through some ebbs and flows through much of this game and had a chance to take it. It helped that Chicago started the 2nd half going 8/15 from three, and encouraging that a couple of those makes were coming from Mirotic and Denzel Valentine (who received a lot of the Wade minutes). But that was much of the Bulls offense in that half as they finished with 41 points total over the two periods, and the Grizzlies were able to pull away before the final minute.