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Bulls vs. Grizzlies final score: Chicago’s offense sputters without DeRozan in 104-89 loss on back-to-back

Chicago rallied from 15 down but Memphis took over in the fourth

Chicago Bulls v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

On a second game of a back to back and with DeMar DeRozan inactive due to right hip soreness, the Chicago Bulls had a mountain to climb heading into their matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies. They found themselves down double digits quickly as the offense looked non existent initially, then saw a spirited run get them from a 15 point deficit to take the lead heading into the fourth quarter. Then the wheels fell off with the offense looking out of sync when their best player is not on the floor. It was basically a repeat of the first quarter as they again scored just 14 points.

The Bulls ended up being out scored by 18 in the final twelve minutes of the game to fall 104-89 in Memphis.

The overall offensive numbers for this Bulls team does not look great and you can thank the first and fourth quarters for that. Chicago hit just 36.8 percent of their shots from the field and the three-point accuracy was horrendous as well (20 percent). They failed to take care of the basketball, committing 18 turnovers. They did win the rebounding battle by double digits and registered 24 assists on 32 made baskets.

Nikola Vucevic continued his impressive season with another double double this time to the tune of 28 points and 17 rebounds. Chicago wanted to get him the ball and be the focal point of the offense and his team high 26 shot attempts reflect that. He also added six assists and three steals. Vucevic even spread the floor with three makes from deep.

Zach LaVine had 24 points with the majority of them coming from the line. It could have been a much higher scoring night for him if not for an uncharacteristic off night from the line. LaVine missed seven free throws but did knock down a couple of three-pointers, albeit on seven attempts. With DeRozan out, the onus falls on Vucevic and LaVine to step up and make sure the offense doesn’t go awry. Sadly it was evident that Chicago’s offense was falling apart with the game on the line as chaotic possessions just kept happening. For a team which isn’t the best defensively, going on offensive droughts like they did in the fourth makes it nearly impossible for them to win.

Ayo Dosunmu continued to look aggressive in driving the basketball, scoring 14 points on six of 14 sooting along with six assists and four rebounds. Patrick Williams flashed a couple of nice passes and even made a couple of strong moves to the rim off the dribble, something we don’t often see from him. Alex Caruso had just two points but notched five assists and six rebounds in his return to game action.

The bench was great against San Antonio but tonight didn’t contribute much at all, combining for just 12 points. Coby White played the most of the reserves and had a rough shooting night. He went one of eight from the field for just four points while Derrick Jones Jr. had five. Andre Drummond picked up six rebounds in thirteen minutes but had three personal fouls along with four turnovers.

Ja Morant led the way for Memphis with 34 points and seven assists. Jaren Jackson Jr. had 24 while Desmond Bane pitched in with 17 points.

Against the elite teams in the league, the Bulls are going to need to play perfect basketball or go on massive runs to have a chance. Playing in a game where you score 28 points in a combined two quarters isn’t going to cut it. They did well to get back into the game but when Chicago needed it the most, they just couldn’t score with DeRozan not on the floor. With less than 48 hours to the trade deadline, it remains to be seen if the Bulls make any moves to this current roster. A move would also serve as an indication of which path the front office wants to take with this team.

Chicago’s next game is on Thursday when they travel to Brooklyn to take on the Nets.