It only took the first three and a half quarters to make the game interesting, but that final period was exciting enough to make up for what was an ugly performance from both Memphis and Chicago.
Both teams struggled on offense, relying on solid performances from a few players to carry the team. Avery Bradley, Justin Holiday and Mike Conley to an extent, although he had a really rough night shooting until the fourth quarter paced the Grizzlies, while Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen led the Bulls.
After a game like this, there weren’t many positives, but we managed to find some.
Avery Bradley: A
Memphis must remind Bradley of Boston somehow, because he’s been playing as well as he was in his final season in Beantown. He was the best player on the floor tonight for Memphis with 23 points 7 rebounds and 7 assists. His intensity on both ends of the floor was impressive to watch. He does not look like the same player he was earlier this season with the Clippers and might very well be worth keeping around next year, depending on how he continues to perform. Nights like this are very encouraging.
Justin Holiday: B
Everyone knew that when Memphis traded for Holiday that he would have his one of his best performances playing as a cutter, finishing looks inside right? Wrong. It’s no secret that Holiday has struggled connecting on his 3-pointers since moving to Beale Street, and when his corner three isn’t falling, Justin’s offensive impact can be severely limited. But tonight, Justin Holiday didn’t play how he typically does. His cuts to the basket were precise, he brought lots of energy to both ends of the floor, and found ways to make himself useful to his team despite not playing the style he has become comfortable with.
Mike Conley: C
This grade was almost worse. Conley was in a slump for most of the game. He was getting a lot of the same looks he has become accustomed to, but his shots just weren’t falling the way they usually do. He shot a poor 33% from the floor and for most of the game didn’t play like the Mike Conley we all know and love. Luckily for him, another fourth quarter takeover gave him a passing grade in my book. A few much-needed threes kept Memphis in the game as Chicago started to heat up, and he could have made even more of an impact if not for a certain no-call foul at the end of the game. Oh well.
Kudos to all you real Grizzlies fans who were dedicated enough to see this sloppy game through. While Memphis missed a great opportunity to #PlaytoConvey, they did show that this is a team that won’t quit, no matter how much they might struggle along the way.