What another truly amazing game this was. Seems like every single one is these days with this roster. The highlights in this game were nothing short of amazing and this was a physical, well fought battle of “Chi-Town” vs “The M-Town.” The first half was another game of runs, though it was more so of Memphis batting for the size of it’s lead instead of sharing it.
Steven Adams scored the first two buckets of the game for Memphis as they got off to a fast start, going up as much as 13 points in the first half. Memphis managed to come out physical playing strong defense and rebounding. Adams had nearly a double double for Memphis with 9 points and 11 rebounds in the first quarter. Ja Morant had 9 points in the opening period. Memphis held Chicago to around 40% for the first half shooting with 52 points.
The third quarter was one of the best individual scoring performances I’ve ever seen from anyone. When Ja Morant wasn’t faking passes in transition while going full speed, he was dunking in traffic to finish the possession off of the same move made from half court. When he wasn’t doing that he was catching lobs after he pushed the ball in transition. When Ja Morant wasn’t doing either of those he was pulling up and knocking down threes to punish the defense for thinking he would only score downhill. When he wasn’t doing any of that he was driving all the way up under the rim only to reverse the layup late to score again on his defender. Ja Morant’s 3rd quarter alone should dominate SportsCenter.
Chicago managed to cause Memphis to make a few more turnovers as Chicago went on an 8-0 run around the middle part of the final period, thanks to back to back turnovers by Morant. DeRozan had a tough first half but made clutch buckets when it mattered most to bring The Bulls within eight points.
Going back to earlier in the fourth quarter, with just under 10 minutes in the 4th period. Jaren Jackson Jr. got mauled by Tristan Thompson as Tristian. As Thompson attempted to stop Jaren drive to the rim, Thompson rides Jackson with his arm literally riding on Jackson’s shoulder as Jaren drove to the rim with the ball for a layup. Thompson was not called for the foul & as the dead ball came shortly after Jaren walked off down the court in the opposite direction of the official to vent a little. Another official who had already called a technical foul on DeMar DeRozan earlier in the game watched Jaren walk down to the other side of the court then called a technical foul on Jaren. Crazy officiating to say the least. Jaren had to be pulled away by Kyle Anderson to avoid getting tossed for another response but Jaren had every right to be a angry at such a seemingly vindictive and insecure officiating.
Chicago continued to make a run late in the fourth. Coby White takes the left side of the court, pulls up & nails a well defended mid range fadeway to bring the Bulls within 4 points with just over five minutes left in regulation. DeRozan is fouled on his way to the basket with just under five minutes left in regulation. DeMar goes to the line for two & nails both free throws as he brings the Bulls back to just within two points as they have went on a 15 point run late. Ja Morant then responds with a bucket of his own off of the speed dribble to beat Chicago defense from getting set as “12” pulls up & nails the right hand floater-jumper.
Bane hadn’t made a burner bucket deep all night until he nails one off of a second chance rebound that was kicked out to him with just over a minute left to put Memphis back up four points. The Bulls get the game back to within one with just over 25 seconds remaining in regulation. Tyus Jone then brought it up for Memphis. He is pressed with a double team so he kicks it to the only open man which is Steven Adams. Adams uses an escape dribble motion to create enough space from the defender to pass back to Tyus to avoid shooting free throws, smart play from the big fella.
Kyle Anderson defends Chicago on their final scoring attempt that could’ve potentially tied the game. As “Slo Mo” is doing a solid job defending DeRozen one on one, Jaren steps over to help at the rim as Kyle puts his left hand on the ball & steals it away before passing it to Ja Morant who then hogs away until being fouled to stop the clock. DeMar goes off on the official for the no foul call and DeMar gets another technical foul which gets him tossed from the game. Morant makes the technical free throw plus the foul shots & sealed the win.
Ja finished with 46 points in 36 minutes. Again, He had scored 16 points by halftime. Ja said he saw the Michael Jordan video they played in the beginning of the third period & that got him really going. He had 30 points in the second half alone. Please note to Memphis staff that we must play Michael Jordan videos at the start of all second half’s for the Grizzlies from this day forward.