Ja Morant, Grizzlies Roll Past Bulls as Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, More Sit Out for CHIJanuary 17, 2022
The Memphis Grizzlies just keep on rolling.
After seeing their 11-game winning streak snapped Friday, the Grizz responded by hammering a short-handed Chicago Bulls team Monday, 119-106, behind big nights from Ja Morant and Desmond Bane.
Since starting the year 9-10, the Grizzlies (31-15) have won 22 of their last 27 contests.
And yes, Morant did something special. He always does:
The Grizzlies didn't face Chicago's full complement of talent, however. Zach LaVine missed the game with a knee injury, while Lonzo Ball missed the contest with knee soreness. Alex Caruso was also out after just being cleared from the NBA's health and safety protocols.
The good news for the Bulls was that Saturday's MRI on LaVine's knee showed no structural damage, and he'll be reevaluated next week.
"Well, obviously very optimistic and very grateful that it wasn't something more," Bulls coach Billy Donovan told reporters over the weekend. "That's why they wanted to do the MRI, so he'll continue to get therapy and we'll re-evaluate him after a period of time. I don't think it's something that's long-term, which is a good thing. So the biggest thing is how does he respond to therapy, treatment, those kinds of things."
If Monday's tough loss was any indication, however, life without LaVine—even in the short term—is going to be difficult for the Bulls.
Ja Morant, MEM: 25 points
Jaren Jackson Jr., MEM: 14 points, five rebounds, five blocks
Desmond Bane, MEM: 25 points
DeMar DeRozan, CHI: 24 points, five assists
Nikola Vucevic, CHI: Seven points, 10 rebounds, two blocks
Coby White, CHI: 16 points, five assists
Bane Was Feeling It
Morant is the main topic around Memphis on most days, and for good reason—he's a highlight waiting to happen. And he was hardly chopped liver Monday.
But Bane was excellent, serving as yet another reminder of the promise the young Grizzlies boast.
After being a rotational player as a rookie, Bane has emerged as one of Memphis' most important players and has started every game he's played this year. There aren't many teams more fun to watch than the Grizz right now, and Bane is one of the reasons why.
It Wasn't Vucevic's Night
While LaVine is out, the Bulls are going to need DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic to do the heavy lifting. While DeRozan did his part, the Bulls starting center struggled immensely, shooting just 2-of-13 from the field.
Vucevic, to his credit, worked hard on the glass. His shot just wasn't falling.
The veteran has largely been the third fiddle in Chicago behind LaVine and DeRozan this season. Now, the Bulls need him to step up. He didn't do so Monday.
The Grizzlies travel to Milwaukee to face the defending champion Bucks on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. The Bulls will host the Cleveland Cavaliers on that same date and time.