Grizzlies ready to bounce back vs. Bulls after end of historic streak

After seeing their franchise record 11-game winning streak come to an end, the Memphis Grizzlies look to bounce back Monday afternoon against the visiting Chicago Bulls.

Playing the second night of a back-to-back and its fifth game in a week, Memphis faded in the second half of Friday’s 112-85 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

«We’re never looking for excuses, but we’ve got to acknowledge that we were running on fumes,» Memphis interim coach Darko Rajakovic said. «After a very solid first half, we just didn’t have it in the second half. We hit 11 points in transition at halftime, and that’s where we stayed. We just didn’t have enough.»

The Grizzlies have won their last two meetings against Chicago, which will be short-handed again on Monday.

The Bulls have lost four of their last five but still hold the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a 27-14 record.

Chicago will likely have to face the Grizzlies without Lonzo Ball (left knee), Alex Caruso (health and safety protocols) and Zach LaVine, who is not expected to miss significant time after an MRI exam on Saturday showed no structural damage to his left knee.

LaVine, who is averaging 24.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists, will be re-evaluated early this week after landing awkwardly during the first quarter of Friday’s game against the Golden State Warriors.

Despite missing three key players, the Bulls gave the Boston Celtics a scare on Saturday before losing 114-112.

One of several bright spots was the play of rookie guard Ayo Dosunmu, who posted his first career double-double with 21 points and 10 assists, both career-highs. Dosunmu turns 22 on Monday.

«He played great,» Bulls center Nikola Vucevic said. «For a young guy like him to play with so much poise and not get rushed into making quick decisions, just playing smart ball, is impressive at that age. Especially only in his third start and played however many games we played so far. He played well at both ends. He’s been doing that all year long. It’s a huge addition for us.»

The Bulls have also received a welcome spark from second-year pro Coby White, who is starting at point guard in place of Ball.

White scored 19 points and made five 3-pointers against Boston and is averaging 17.5 points on 54.3 percent shooting over his last 11 games.

Chicago concludes its brief two-game road trip against a Memphis team that sits in third place in the Western Conference.

Point guard Ja Morant led the Grizzlies in scoring for the 21st time this season on Friday with 19 points, eight assists and five rebounds against Dallas.

Memphis center Steven Adams returned after missing four games in health and safety protocols and recorded six points, six rebounds and two blocks in 21 minutes.

The Grizzlies also gave forward Brandon Clarke his first start of the season, and the second-year pro responded with nine points in 20 minutes.

Morant, who is averaging 24.4 points, 6.8 assists and 5.8 rebounds remained positive despite Friday’s 27-point loss in which Memphis was outscored 62-30 in the second half.

«One game doesn’t define us at all,» Morant said. «We just have to turn the page and take this next day off to rest, get treatment, and recover. And come in on Monday locked in and preparing for the Bulls.»

–Field Level Media