The dogged, shorthanded days of January continued for the Chicago Bulls in Memphis on Monday.
Once again down Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso and four power forwards (Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr., Patrick Williams, Tyler Cook), the Bulls were run off the floor by the Grizzlies 119-106 – pushing their season-long losing streak to four games and season-long record to 27-15.
Here are 10 observations:
1. The Grizzlies entered play first in the NBA in steals (10.1) and sixth in opponent turnovers forced (15.4) per game – and well-exceeded both of those averages in this one. Their activity in passing lanes was disruptive to an already-disjointed Bulls offensive attack.
At the end of the first, the Bulls had as many giveaways as made field goals (eight), by halftime they had 12 and by game’s end 18, off of which the Grizzlies scored 21 points (a category in which they are also top five in the league).
The Bulls have been a low-turnover team most of the season, but the absences of Ball, LaVine and Caruso have put an undue playmaking burden on other star and role players alike. Ayo Dosunmu and DeMar DeRozan each had four turnovers apiece, Matt Thomas had three, and Nikola Vučević, Coby White and Troy Brown Jr. all had two.
Worse, 14 of the Bulls’ 18 turnovers were Grizzlies steals, which allowed their fastbreak game to flourish as the game wore on.
2. For a time,…