Grizzlies carry 14-game slide into meeting with Bulls
CHICAGO -- The Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls experienced their own brand of disappointment in what has been a long and grinding regular season for two of the NBA's worst teams.
Despite their struggles, the Grizzlies and Bulls attempt to not allow losing to wear on them too much. But Memphis is in the midst of a 14-game losing streak heading into Wednesday's road test against the Bulls, so the string of setbacks has tested the Grizzlies' will sometimes more than others.
The Grizzlies' inability to not beat themselves proved problematic in their last loss, a 100-98 decision against the San Antonio Spurs. Memphis (18-45) committed 20 turnovers, some of which came at the most inopportune times as the Grizzlies once again failed to snap their lengthy winless drought.
Memphis will again attempt to do so Wednesday when the Grizzlies will be in search of the first victory since Jan. 29 against a Bulls team that has lost 13 of its last 16 games.
"You can't use a losing streak to allow you not to do your job," Grizzlies center Marc Gasol told reporters Monday, according to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. "Whoever is not prepared to do their job out there and do what's best for the team should not be playing because in this league you're going to find what's important to winning ... So, you've got to learn, you've got to teach and you've got to be patient."
The Bulls (21-42) have experienced their share of teachable moments during the beginnings of a multi-year rebuilding effort. And while coach Fred Hoiberg has been forced to be patient especially since the All-Star break when the Bulls front office has kept the focus on trying out different combinations of young talent, some moments have been more difficult to bear than others.
The last came Monday when the Bulls fell to the Boston Celtics 105-89 in a game when Chicago watched Boston use a 19-0 first-quarter scoring spurt to build a commanding 35-16 lead and that defined how the remainder of the night would go.
Hoiberg, who has for the most part kept any frustration below the surface this season, had no difficulty voicing his displeasure with the Bulls' lackluster effort.
"Things got tough and we just shut down and quit playing," Hoiberg told reporters after the loss, according to Bulls.com. "Our offense was brutal, absolutely brutal. We got stagnant, we quit moving, and again, when things got tough and they got into us, we just kind of gave in and said, 'OK, this is too hard for us tonight.' As opposed to getting tough and getting them off you and making plays and getting into the paint. Very disappointing."
Denzel Valentine matched a career high with 20 points for the Bulls, who will continue to give young players opportunities to prove themselves as the regular season winds down. But as much as the Bulls continue to build for the future while -- like the Grizzlies -- find difficulty in finding victories, Hoiberg's players don't want performances like Monday's to define who they are.
They will get a chance to redeem themselves against Memphis on Wednesday.
"We've got to be better, we have to be able to fight," guard Zach LaVine told reporters while calling Monday's showing "terrible all around.
"We'll pick it up next game. ... and this won't happen again."
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