(Photo credit: Justin Ford – USA TODAY Sports )
Game 42: Chicago Bulls (21-21) defeat Memphis Grizzlies (25-18), 108-104
Jan. 15, 2017
FedExForum – Memphis
With 14 points in the first quarter, the Bulls had a season-low first quarter point total. But Chicago’s 38-point second quarter turned the game around.
Doug McDermott showed flashes of his former Creighton self, playing aggressively and scoring 20 of his 22 first-half points in the second quarter. In fact, McDermott’s shot was falling so often, the Grizzlies’ Twitter posted about him:
@chicagobulls can Dougie McBuckets chill with his nickname tonight pls
— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) January 16, 2017
But with such a good performance, McDermott led the Bulls the 52-46 halftime lead after trailing by five heading into the second quarter.
Chicago never capitalized on such momentum heading into the second half, though, failing to extend its lead further. Because of that, Vince Carter‘s back-to-back 3-pointers in the latter end of the third quarter cut the Bulls’ lead to three, giving momentum to the Grizzlies.
Mike Conley made a 3-pointer of his own afterward to give Memphis the 70-69 lead, but it couldn’t hold on. Come the end of the third, the Bulls were back on top.
Chicago went on a 4-0 run to open the final quarter but couldn’t separate itself from Memphis. The Grizzlies hung around and managed to tie the game at 89 after a Conley jumper. Zach Randolph tipped the ball in for a 91-89 Memphis lead, but it was very short-lived. Randolph proceeded to foul Robin Lopez on a made basket on the other end of the court; Lopez made the free throw to complete the 3-point play and to give Chicago the 92-91 lead.
Once the Bulls hit 100 points, they had a brief scoring drought, and the Grizzlies took advantage, scoring four straight to tie the game.
The two teams traded baskets to tie the game at 104, but Jimmy Butler buried a 15-footer to give Chicago the lead. Conley tried to counter and take the game back with a 3-pointer, but missed, and then fouled McDermott, who grabbed the rebound. McDermott then made both free throws to seal the game.
Player of the Game
Doug McDermott scored a career-high 31 points to lead all scorers, and he did so by scoring in a variety of ways: off of jumpers and by driving to the basket. Over half of his points came in the second quarter when he led the Bulls’ 38-point quarter.
He got up a team-high 16 field goal attempts, connecting on nine of them. Of his makes, a third of them came from behind the 3-point arc. McDermott was 50 percent on 3-pointers. But he proved his aggressive offense by getting to the charity stripe 11 times, making 10 free throws. One of the free throws even came on a four-point play in the second quarter.
McDermott also added six rebounds, a steal and a block.
Mike Conley did it all Sunday night. He led his team in scoring with 28 points and added five rebounds, a game-high eight assists and two steals.
The Grizzlies may have been a perfect 13-for-13 from the free throw line, but the Bulls had an overwhelming advantage over them, getting there 35 times — nearly three times as many times as the Grizzlies did. This came as a result of Memphis committing 22 fouls.
Memphis made up a bit for its lack of free throws by making over twice as many 3-pointers as Chicago did. The Grizzlies did shoot poorly from downtown at 11-for-32, but that still managed to best the Bulls’ 4-of-17 on 3-pointers.
The Bulls may have won, but it wasn’t because of their ball movement. Chicago couldn’t even hit 20 assists, while Memphis dished out six more assists.
The Bulls play the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday at the United Center at 7 p.m. central.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.