The Memphis Grizzlies will try to end a three-game losing streak on Tuesday night when they host a Chicago Bulls team riding a three-game winning streak.
The Bulls earned their latest victory in the first leg of a back-to-back on Monday, racing past the visiting San Antonio Spurs in the fourth quarter for a 128-104 rout at home.
Chicago outscored the Spurs 38-19 in the final period, opening the quarter with an 18-3 run.
Andre Drummond was instrumental in the decisive closing 12 minutes, scoring 12 of his season-high 21 points for the night on 6-of-6 shooting from the floor. He finished the game 9-of-9.
Drummond also grabbed five of his season-best 15 rebounds in the fourth quarter.
“I’m just grateful to play this game,” Drummond told NBC Sports Chicago in a postgame interview. “Whenever my number’s called, I try to be prepared each and every night.”
Drummond was playing sparingly before the recent three-game stretch, but after logging almost 21 minutes on Monday, he has played more than 13 minutes off the bench in each game of Chicago’s winning streak. He registered double-doubles in two of the three contests, as well, recording 15 points and 11 rebounds in a rout of the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday.
Fellow Bulls big man Nikola Vucevic scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Monday win for his fifth consecutive double-double and fourth with at least 22 points and 11 rebounds in that stretch.
The Bulls will come into Memphis just a game below .500 and competing for a playoff spot, as they sit ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, remain second in the Western Conference but have lost considerable ground amid a lengthy slump.
A 106-103 loss to the visiting Toronto Raptors on Sunday was Memphis’ third straight defeat and eighth loss in nine games. The Grizzlies have scored less than their average of 116.2 points per game in seven of those nine contests.
Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane listed the keys to overcoming the club’s offensive struggles: “Valuing every possession. Understanding the magnitude of every possession for a full 48 minutes, but especially down the stretch. We’ve got to be able to rebound the basketball and not allow teams to get second chances.”
Memphis leads the NBA in offensive rebounds per game at 13.2 but ranks just 23rd with 11.1 allowed per contest. Toronto converted 11 offensive boards into 21 second-chance points on Sunday, 14 more than the Grizzlies had.
That, coupled with committing 20 turnovers that the Raptors turned into 29 points, resulted in Memphis squandering a lead it held for most of the game, an advantage that peaked at 15 points in the third quarter.
Grizzlies star Ja Morant sat out the Toronto game due to right wrist soreness but is due back on Tuesday. Veteran post player Steven Adams will miss his eighth consecutive game because of a sprained ligament in his right knee.
“Every day, we feel (Adams’ absence),” Memphis forward Jaren Jackson Jr. said after the Sunday loss. “Obviously the rebounds and the attention that opponents give him so we can get rebounds, too. His force, him just being out there, we miss him for sure.”
–Field Level Media