With his name circulating in trade rumors, Jerian Grant has a chance to start games in the absence of the concussed Kris Dunn and audition his talent.
And if you watched only the first three quarters of the Chicago Bulls 132-128 loss against the New Orleans Pelicans and then just took a gander at the final stat line, it was a good night: Grant finished the game with 22 points and a season-high 13 assists and was the only Bulls starter to post a positive plus-minus (+2).
But it really was a tale of two games for the Bulls third-year point guard.
When the Pelicans dialed up the full-court pressure at the end of the game, during the 4th period and both overtimes Grant folded to the tune of five turnovers.
let's try Twitter embed for these Grant TOs... pic.twitter.com/LmXInqeqS5— BlogABull.com (@BullsBlogger) January 23, 2018
He also only had only 1 made field goal and two of his 13 assists during those late periods. Even his Bulls-employee Uncle acknowledged the difference:
“My nephew Jerian got a little rattled there when the pressure was on,” Horace Grant said afterward on NBC Sports Chicago’s postgame show. “Hopefully, he can learn from this particular game.”
In 9:43 of playing time in the fourth quarter he was a -6, in 4:50 of playing time in the first overtime he was a +/- 0, and in the double overtime period he was a -2 in 4:29 of playing time. Over dribbling and failing to get his team into any semblance of the offense plagued Grant late.
This is an assist, but that doesn't tell the whole story. This is not good offense pic.twitter.com/ZMQTrci1Nu— Will Gottlieb (@wontgottlieb) January 23, 2018
Clutch-time execution has eluded Grant all season. By plus-minus, Grant has been the second worst on the Bulls with a -1.3 plus-minus in clutch situations. He’s only been used in nine games defined by NBA.com as late and close (under five minutes with a point differential at five points or under) as head coach Fred Hoiberg deservedly hasn’t trusted him in high-leverage situations.
Grant has struggled throughout his career when teams have dialed up pressure against him defensively. Ending his habit of over-dribbling, and focusing on getting the Bulls into their offense earlier in the shot clock are keys for him to stay on the court in pressure situations.