It has been a week since the Memphis Grizzlies played a game in Memphis. A lot has changed in that week.
The Grizzlies traded two players and waived another. Xaiver Tillman and David Roddy were traded. Victor Oladipo was released this week. The Grizzlies acquired Lamar Stevens (Rockets), Chimezie Metu and Yuta Watanabe (Suns).
With it’s roster rattled by injuries and trades, The Grizzlies hosted the Chicago Bulls looking to end their current six-game losing streak. The Bulls pulled away late to defeat the Grizzlies (118-110).
Coach Taylor Jenkins spoke about the game, acknowledging the team’s competitiveness and the close finish.
“I think our guys are competing,” Jenkins said after the game. “We gave ourselves a chance — a lot of free throws at the end.… I told the team, ‘Be pissed that we took another loss but be hungry and excited to learn from this stuff.’”
Jaren Jackson Jr., who had missed the last game, returned to score 13 points in the first quarter, helping the Grizzlies to a 31-27 lead. He and GG Jackson were instrumental in maintaining the lead at halftime, 56-52.
The Memphis Grizzlies may not be one of the most talented teams in the NBA, but they compete every night. The growth and development of the younger players and even some of the rotational players may not pay dividends this season but could next season.
Jackson Jr. emphasized maintaining a positive attitude amid the team’s challenges: “I have to stay positive so that everybody else feels it… We still have games left, and everyone’s going to have opportunities, including me.”
When Jaren Jackson left the game midway through the third quarter the team could have easily folded their tent and allowed to Bulls to pull away. That was not the case. At the end of the third quarter, the Grizzlies held onto a one-point lead (81-80).
The Bulls, led by DeMar DeRozan, pulled away late in the game. GG Jackson’s performance was a highlight for the Grizzlies, breaking Kobe Bryant’s rookie record for most bench points.
“I feel like this is going to be stamped in Grizzlies history for a long time to come,” GG Jackson said. “I’ve said this before, but it’s not me; it’s all glory to God and that opportunity that’s been put at hand. Obviously, unfortunate with injuries and things but you got to go out there and take advantage.”
Next: Grizzlies at Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, Feb. 10 (6 p.m. tip) followed by a visit from the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, Feb. 12 at FedExForum.