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Once again, Jerian Grant succumbed to pressure in the clutch

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The stat line looked good, the late-game aesthetics did not

NBA: Chicago Bulls at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

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.