Postgame Report: Memphis uses dominant fourth quarter to power past Bulls 101-90
Key Stat of the Night
- After allowing 132 points on 52.5 percent shooting last evening to Indiana, the Grizzlies bounced back on the defensive end vs. the Bulls. Down the stretch, Memphis held Chicago to just 16 points in the fourth quarter on just 26.1 percent shooting. The Grizzlies held the Bulls to 0-of-11 from 3-point range in the final quarter. Memphis also out-shot Chicago 61.1 percent to 26.1 percent and out-rebounded the Bulls 17-6 in the fourth.
Key Run of the Night
- The game was knotted at 83-83 with 6:50 to play in regulation before Memphis ripped off a 20-6 run to put the game out of reach. Jonas Valančiūnas scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including an explosive two-handed put back dunk with 1:39 left to ice the game away.
The Memphis Grizzlies knocked off the Chicago Bulls 101-90 on Monday night inside FedExForum. Memphis outscored Chicago 31-16 in the final quarter of play while holding the Bulls to 0-of-11 from 3-point range in the last 12 minutes.
Dillon Brooks scored eight points in the first 10 minutes of the game to pace the Grizzlies early on. The Grizzlies stretched their lead to as many as nine points in the first quarter before the Bulls tied the game at 22-22 heading to the second quarter. Memphis ripped off a 14-2, highlighted by an alley-oop slam from Brandon Clarke, to grab a 46-43 lead over the visitors. Despite turning the ball over 12 times (14 points) in the first half, the Grizzlies carried a 48-47 lead into the halftime break.
Chicago came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter, using a 17-6 run to take control of the game at 66-59 with 5:29 remaining in the third. The game was knotted at 83-83 with 6:50 to play in regulation before Memphis ripped off a 20-6 run to put the game out of reach. Memphis out-shot Chicago 61.1 percent to 26.1 percent and out-rebounded the Bulls 17-6 in the fourth quarter to snap their six-game losing streak to the Bulls.
Jonas Valančiūnas totaled 26 points, 14 rebounds, two assists and two blocks on 12-of-15 shooting. Valančiūnas has recorded a double-double in 39 of his 47 games played this season. Ja Morant posted a double-double of his own with 13 points, 10 assists and three rebounds in 36 minutes. Brooks totaled 17 points (6-of-19), seven rebounds, two assists and one steal in 37 minutes. Grayson Allen pitched in 14 points and six rebounds as Memphis improved to (27-25).
Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 21 points, nine assists and four rebounds on 5-of-14 shooting. Thaddeus Young added 20 points, one rebound and one assist on an efficient 10-of-15 shooting performance. Nikola Vucevic posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebound as the Bulls fell to (22-31) on the year.
The Grizzlies will finish their three game home stand on Wednesday, April 14 vs. the Dallas Mavericks at 8:30 p.m. inside FedExForum. Fans can watch on ESPN or listen on 92.9 ESPN.
On the bench:We just felt what was going on in the game. Our bench has been really good for us. I thought there were some struggles in the first half, and when we got kind of going a little bit – there was a stretch there in the third quarter – I thought we were doing some good things, and it was just feel of the game. This isn’t indicative of what we are going to have every single night. I’m just trying to put guys out there that are playing really well. If you look at our starters, three guys with 20-plus plus-minus, so keeping on the floor was a big deciding factor for us tonight, Ja (Morant), (Dillon Brooks)… (Jonas Valančiūnas) – hopefully everyone knows franchise record in (consecutive) double-doubles and (tying his) career-high record in double-doubles in a season – he was phenomenal tonight.
On Jonas Valančiūnas:He’s doing a lot of great things for us. Obviously, the rebounding numbers jump out. Everyone talks about that. I thought tonight, some of his defensive assignments guarding, when we got into some switch situations and he had to guard smalls, three blocks tonight. Seeing him have that activity around the rim is huge, and then obviously offensively, his ability to beat you inside. I give the Bulls a lot of credit. They were taking us out of or rhythm in a lot of situations, physical on the ball, shifting. I thought we missed some opportunities to get out, but when we did find some cracks, he was the beneficiary of a lot of offensive rebounds and dump-offs. Great connections there with our guards. He’s been great. In terms of the consistency, there’s a reliability there. He puts in the work every single day, his body, his game. To come out there and play that hard and make an impact night in and night out is really big for us all season, recent stretch, and we’re going to need it to move forward.
On the game:I thought our defense was pretty good for the majority of the game. We came out with a different tone, (allowing) a 22-point first quarter. Obviously, to finish (allowing) a 16-point fourth quarter is big for us. There were some runs. Luckily we were able to keep the lead from growing too much for the Bulls. We were able to get enough stops, and then we were able to make some runs of our own. But, this is the challenge that I hit the guys with before the game about our defensive focus, transition. I thought our one-on-one defense was a lot better. We’ve just got to pride ourselves on the defensive end. Let that be a fuel for us. Offense has been trending in a good direction. Again, credit to the Bulls. They made it tough on us offensively tonight, but our defense gave us a shot to win this game and we made just enough plays there in that fourth quarter on both ends of the floor to come out with a victory.
On the fourth quarter:I think our guys, and obviously the fourth quarter jumps out, but I think for 48 minutes, our guys really responded after I think two pretty subpar performances on our end, and especially in those fourth quarters. But the last 12 (minutes) can’t be the only thing you think about. We talk about the full 48 minutes, and we’ve watched film about that concept and that mentality for the last two games, and to come out, and I thought we had an edge about us in the first quarter, and then that’s what we’ve go to have. Our defense has always got to be there for 48 minutes. Offensively, you hope you generate some good offense for 48 minutes too, but then to have that sustained throughout. And then in the fourth quarter we had big stops, great execution of a couple of adjustments we had, and then to come up when they miss, we weren’t allowing them to get second chance opportunities. That was a difference maker the other night. Tonight that was big for us to secure the win.
On balance:We’ve always got to establish our pace, mentality and get inside. I thought we did a good job of that, and then they swarmed really heavily and we just missed opportunities to get to the 3-point line to have that balance that you were just talking about. So, it will be good. Obviously, we play them in a couple of days. We’ll run it back. We’ll study the game plan that they had for us and how we can be better. But any given night, our driving force is the pace. We start with that tonight. We’ve got to get out and play with some better fast break opportunities, but then at the half court, our mentality to attack, whether it’s off pick-and-rolls or drives, we’ve still got to get downhill, and then just kind of read what the defense has for us that night. So, we did an ok job, and we’ll be better the next time we play the Bulls.
On how he feels right now, based on how he’s playing at this moment of his career:You know, it’s not an individual sport. So I would not be doing it without my teammates, first of all. Second thing, I’m playing with a high energy, putting a lot of work in, trying to go for every rebound, trying to go for every putback, stuff like that. That pays off.
On the team’s defense returning to form tonight:Today, defense was the key. We did it with the defense. We play good defense the majority of the time, that’s [often] got us a lead. Yesterday was a kind of slippage, but we’re a young team. We learn from our mistakes, and we move on. So that was a great example today.”
On how gratifying it is to be performing well in the midst of a playoff push:That’s our goal. We want to be in the playoffs. We’re a young team. We’re grinding it out, trying to get playoff experience, and that’s much needed. And we’ll do everything to get there. It’s a long road. It’s not easy to establish your name, but we’ve got to do everything it takes.
On how tonight’s win demonstrated the team’s identity and his own growth:I don’t like to talk about myself. What’s our identity? We’re quick learners – we learn quick. Yesterday, like we talked about before, was not a great game for us. We made some mistakes on defense. So being able to correct those things overnight is a big thing. A lot of credit [goes] for our guards for guarding perimeter guys, because they had some strength shooting the ball and driving [tonight]. So a good job defending them. We just cannot sleep on [this]. Now we have Dallas coming in, a hot team, playing good. We need that win.
On rebounding from Sunday’s loss and Jonas Valančiūnas’s performance:It shows us what we are capable of and how we were able to bounce back from the lost and move on. Great team win. Jonas is Jonas. He’s a big time player for us. He commands and protects the paint. He’s a walking double-double. We are thankful to have him. We just have to keep him going. He’s playing at a very high level right now.
On his alley-oop dunk:We got a stop, which we try to do. We got out into transition, which is how we try to play. I think it was Kyle Anderson with the ball. I was getting out to the corner and I saw Grayson Allen with it and it was an open lane my way. Grayson threw the lob and I dunked it. I finished the play. Grayson with the assist. Gave us some energy. We played off of the lob and went out and got the win.
On playing well in crunch time:That’s big-time for us to be able to lock in late in the game, get stops and go on the offensive end and score to secure the win. I think Coach [Jenkins] mentioned to us that we’re like 1-8 when we are down three points or something in the last two minutes of the game or something like that. He told us that before the game. It’s just showing how we are listening and how we bounced back from the previous two games when we were late in the game, so we were able to come out with the win. We just have to use this energy coming up for our last home game before the road trip to try to get a win against a good Dallas Mavericks team.
On his performance:I love sharing the ball. I feel like if my teammates are open, I'm going to make that play. I just use my athleticism and creativity to get the ball to the open man. I have good players around me who are capable of making shots and scoring the ball. They help me out. As much credit I get for having double-digit assists and the passes I make, we wouldn’t be talking about it if I didn’t have the teammates to make the basket. Credit goes to my teammates. I’m going to continue to find them.
- The Grizzlies finished their home back-to-back tonight with their first game of the season against the Chicago Bulls. Memphis’ current three-game home stand marks the team’s only three home games during a 14-game stretch (April 4-26).
- Following the home stand, the Grizzlies embark on a seven-game road trip from April 16-26, the longest road trip in the Memphis era of the franchise (since 2001-02 season). The Bulls’ visit to FedExForum marks the end of a 10-game stretch with nine away games.
- The Grizzlies snapped a six-game losing streak in the overall series against the Bulls, picking up their first win over Chicago since Mar. 15, 2017. Before tonight, Chicago was the only team that had not lost to Memphis since the start of the 2017-18 season.
- The Grizzlies set a franchise record for points in the paint last night vs. Indiana (88). Memphis followed that up with 60 points in the paint tonight. The Grizzlies lead the NBA in points in the paint per game (56.4) with Jonas Valančiūnas (12.6 points) and Ja Morant (10.9) doing the most damage.
- Jonas Valančiūnas posted a double-double with 26 points and 14 rebounds to pick-up his 39th double-double of the season, tying his single-season career high. Jonas Valančiūnas notched his 15th consecutive double-double, setting a new franchise record previously held by Zach Randolph.
- Valančiūnas has totaled 60 points and 36 rebounds while shooting 70.0 percent in two games over the past two nights. Per Stathead, the only other player in the last 42 seasons to reach these totals (and FG%) over a 48-hour span is Dwight Howard (Dec. 14-15, 2007).
- Ja Morant posted a double-double with 13 points, 10 assists and three rebounds in 36 minutes. Tonight was Morant’s 10th game this season with at least 10 points and 10 assists, joining Jason Williams and Mike Bibby as the only Grizzlies players to have multiple seasons with 10+ point-assist double-doubles.
- Dillon Brooks added 17 points (6-19 FG), seven rebounds and two assists in a team-high 37 minutes.
- Kyle Anderson filled the box score with five points, five rebounds, six assists, four steals and one block in 29 minutes.
- Grayson Allen totaled 14 points (4-of-9 3P) and six rebounds in 32 minutes. Allen has made 4-or-more 3-pointers eight times in only 39 games this season. Allen accomplished this feat just four times in the first 76 games of his career.