The Memphis Grizzlies picked up a much-needed road win in Chicago on Wednesday night.
The mastery of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol saved the Grizzlies from a bad loss on Wednesday night against the Chicago Bulls.
Overall this was not an excellent offensive performance from either team. But the Grizzlies got buckets when they had to and were sound defensively en route to a 98-91 win over the Bulls.
This was not a perfect performance from Memphis, but was one that has some positives that can be taken away. And after recent struggles, they’ll take a win however they can get it.
An Unexpectedly Good Point Guard Battle
Conley was masterful in this game, as he has been many times this season after being awarded a huge contract extension.
Whether it was efficiency, play-making, or poise, he did everything that Memphis could have asked of him in order to get a W. At the end of the night, “The Conductor” finished with 27 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists, on 8-of-12 shooting. He also knocked down five of his eight three-point attempts.
Nothing about his performance was anything but vintage Conley.
He dictated the tempo of the game in favor of the Grizzlies and seemed to create almost all of the Memphis offense while he was in the game.
But Conley was not the only point guard that played well in this game.
Rajon Rondo lead the way for the Bulls with 17 points, eight assists, and six rebounds, with zero turnovers. On a night where Jimmy Butler was not good, it was Rondo that picked up the slack for the Bulls.
He showed glimpses of being the floor general that he once was and gave his team a spark when their best player struggled.
But unfortunately for him, he couldn’t guard Conley, who was still the far better point guard on this night. Despite the valiant effort of Rondo.
Gasol shines while the rest struggle
“Big Spain” was also dominant in this game.
Gasol, like Conley scored 27 points with seven assists. But Gasol added six rebounds and had zero turnovers of his own. The All-Star also shot 10-for-21 from the field and 3-for-6 from three.
The lack of a dominant big man for the Bulls allowed Gasol to run wild inside and out. His performance was the perfect compliment to Conley and he was effective, and largely mistake-free.
But outside of Conley and Gasol, the Grizzlies didn’t have their best night.
The best from the rest of the field came from Tony Allen.
Allen was the only other Grizzly in double figures (10 points) and also played a big part in helping Memphis shut down Butler, who shot just 4-of-16 from the floor, and Dwyane Wade, who was 3-for-11.
All five of Memphis’ bench players had negative plus-minuses and were not very efficient. Zach Randolph had eight points and nine boards on only 4-for-14 shooting in what was far from his best night.
Troy Daniels was just 2-for-8, himself, and was not the perimeter threat that he is capable of being. But Brandan Wright brought good energy off of the bench but played just 11 minutes, tallying four points and four rebounds.
Memphis shot just 42% from the field in this game but it was not for a lack of ball movement. The team had 26 total assists but just weren’t knocking down a ton of shots.
But fortunately for the Grizz, they defended well enough to where it didn’t matter.
The Grizzlies will get a chance for a third straight win on Thursday night, when they travel to Atlanta force a chance at revenge.
The Hawks defeated the Grizzlies in Memphis, 107-90, on Saturday night in a game that was never really close. The Grizzlies looked uninspired in that game and were mired in their horrible slump.
But if the Grizz can take home a road win over the Hawks, that would give them great momentum and exercise some of the demons from the five-game losing streak.