Coming off a tough loss the previous night to the rival Spurs, a rebound game against the woeful Bulls could have been just what this new(ish) Grizzlies team needed. Chicago had dropped its last 11 games at the United Center and had only 13 wins on the season. Back-to-backs are no cakewalk in the NBA, but this was supposed to be a very winnable game.
Unfortunately, the Bulls had other ideas, coming red-hot out of the gate. Otto Porter had himself a career night, scoring 37 points on a scorching 80% shooting. The Grizzlies put up a tough fight, but another rough 2nd half doomed them once again.
Jonas Valanciunas: B+
JV plays bully ball. Pure and simple. He may not have the same range as Marc Gasol, but he has the muscle to bang down low and we witnessed that tonight. Robin Lopez is no slouch of a center, and Valanciunas banged him around all night to the tune of 12 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. JV brings a real toughness to Memphis that goes beyond the box score. Overall a solid game for the Lithuanian bruiser.
Avery Bradley: B
I was a big fan of Bradley during his Boston days, and while he may never really be the same player he was in Beantown, so far he has looked much better than he did during his Detroit and Los Angeles tenures. Fresh off a career high 33 points against the Spurs, Bradley once again displayed a scoring touch, scoring 15 points on 58% shooting.
With performances like this, on one’s going to think Memphis made a mistake getting him from the Clippers for JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple.
Bruno Caboclo: A-
Brazilian KD has had himself a solid few days. While his numbers from the game aren’t the stuff of legend, Caboclo had a good game that showcased his potential that Memphis was willing to take a chance on. After a decent number of outings on consecutive 10-day contracts, Caboclo inked a multi-year deal with the Grizzles, giving fans some cautious optimism that Bruno can fulfill the potential that made him the 20th pick in the 2014 draft. Here’s hoping.
The result wasn’t what we hoped for, but there were signs of encouraging. At the very least the remainder of the season should be an interesting one.