Argh, this could’ve been so cool. The Bulls facing off against the ascended Memphis Grizzlies in the afternoon in Memphis on the Martin Luther King holiday national TV slot.
But, alas, while the game is still happening, and the Grizzlies are cool and good, the Bulls are beaten down and very injured.
The Bulls were so freaking close to stealing a win in Boston two days ago, even while similarly injured. But I think that has more to do with the Celtics being a mess than the Bulls persevering. Chicago played admirably, to be sure, but I am not sure even a similar effort will put them within striking distance today.
The Grizzlies just saw their 11 game winning streak snapped, losing big to the visiting Mavericks on Friday. So they should be better rested and still feeling themselves. I had it in my head that these two teams played earlier in the season, but that was actually preseason. Either way, they’re a different team now. Ja Morant suffered a knee injury but has exploded since his return, drawing properly superlative comparisons:
Ja Morant's season is pretty dang close statistically to Derrick Rose's MVP year. How else do those guys compare? https://t.co/yOBdr18thy pic.twitter.com/EkqcArGMAi— Steph Noh (@StephNoh) January 17, 2022
The Griz are top-ten in offense, but surprisingly (to me, anyway) also on defense, where they have a big man rotation of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Steven Adams. They also have a deep rotation of big forwards and guards, a lot are very young and have seemingly come out of nowhere to really contribute early in their careers: Desmond Bane, John Konchar, Ziaire Williams, Brandon Clarke...
Not an imposing list of names (Dillon Brooks is the old man at 26, but he’s injured) but the results are there and they are properly orbiting around Morant’s star.
Weird things can happen, and this is an afternoon game, but the Bulls are going to struggle to not make it four straight losses here.
No change for the Bulls, Lonzo Ball has already been ruled out (he sat the Boston contest) and joins LaVine, Caruso, and Jones.
Some back-end of the roster news today, as the Bulls ‘converted’ Malcolm Hill from a 10-day contract to a Two-Way deal for the rest of the year, and they waived Devon Dotson to free up that Two-Way spot.
For the Grizzlies, beyond Brooks the only rotation player out is backup center Killian Tillie
Game Time: 2:30pm Central, TNT