Bulls deliver in second half in win over Grizzlies
Petre Thomas - USA Today Sports

Bulls deliver in second half in win over Grizzlies

by - Senior Writer -

MEMPHIS - After what was expected to be an active trade deadline for the Chicago Bulls (25-27), Artursas Karnisovas once again chose the continuity route as Chicago stood pat and will keep their roster the same the rest of the way. That makes nearly three years since the Bulls made a trade with Lauri Markkanen, the last trade this regime has made.

Looking to start their post-deadline days with a bang, the Bulls kicked off their four-game road trip at the Fed Ex Forum where the Memphis Grizzlies (18-34). After being one of the better teams in the Western Conference the past two seasons, the Grizzlies have been bitten by the injury bug this season, as 10 of their players are currently down with some sort of injury.

That includes Ja Morant, who played in seven games this season before going down with a torn labrum. That alone is a challenging mountain to climb as the Bulls continue to move closer to the .500 mark with a 118-100 victory.

When you have a chance to go back and dive into this game further, this was a very ugly win for the Bulls as the Grizzlies are about as shorthanded as any team in the league, but they still managed to give Chicago all they could handle. That included a first half that saw Memphis outscore Chicago 31-27 in the first quarter and then maintain that four-point lead into the half.

Once the second half began, it was Billy Donovan going back to Andre Drummond and Nikola Vucevic on the floor at the same time, as that combo was dialed in against the Timberwolves earlier this week. Thursday was more of the same as the duo combined to score 41 points while also pulling in 23 boards, as the Grizzlies had no answers for either of them. Throw in just four second-half turnovers, and the Bulls were able to flip the script and outscored the Grizzlies by 12 in the second half to secure the win.

We will get into that duo in a minute, but Demar DeRozan was the talk of the deadline for weeks, as it appeared he was all but done in Chicago. After he found out he would finish the season with the Bulls, DeRozan went on to play one of his better games in a while, leading Chicago with 30 points while also pulling down eight boards. He was one of four players to land in double figures, three of them in the starting lineup, as Vucevic and Coby White each had 20 points.

When it comes to White, this was one of those games where he wasn't at his best shooting the ball, but was at his best finding a way to get the rest of his teammates involved. Eventually, his shots started to fall as he came away with 20 points and added eight assists. Vucevic also had a 20-point effort, but with 10 boards and five additional assists, this was one of his better games.

The real story once again has to be Drummond, as it appears he is the lone backup center who wasn't traded at the deadline. Primarily serving a bench role this season, Drummond has been called upon a lot more in recent weeks. With 21 points and 13 rebounds in 31 minutes off the bench, Donovan needs to find this man minutes, especially playing alongside Vucevic. Ayo Dosunmu rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Bulls with 10 points, with Alex Caruso and Jevon Carter adding seven.

Despite a lot of their key contributors on the shelf right now, the Grizzlies still have Jaren Jackson Jr, who went on to have a great game. Unlike the Timberwolves, whose bigs don't move around a ton, Jackson is one of those players you must follow around the court, as he dropped 28 points. His counterpart and fellow Jackson boy GG Jackson had his coming out party in the Grizzlies last meeting against the Bulls, which continued on Thursday.

Not only did GG Jackson give Memphis 32 minutes off the bench, but he connected on nine of his 18 shots, including four triples, as he added 27 points to the scoreboard for Memphis. While those two were the main factors for Memphis, they still had several other players coming up clutch in what was an overall balanced scoring attack.

Santi Aldama and Scottie Pippen Jr each came away with 15 points, but the fourth quarter from Pippen Jr left the Bulls reminiscing about his dad. You also had Vince Williams Jr go head-to-head with White and Caruso and nearly come away with a triple-double as he added 13 points, 10 boards, and eight assists, but the Bulls still found a way to win.

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