Bulls point guard Kris Dunn shows some staying power in win against Grizzlies

SHARE Bulls point guard Kris Dunn shows some staying power in win against Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Coach Jim Boylen swears it’s not premeditated.

The person most responsible for point guard Kris Dunn finishing games is Dunn.

“It’s not, no, sir,’’ Boylen said Wednesday when asked if Dunn’s late-game minutes were predetermined. “Well, I just think it’s a feel. What’s going on out there, how does it look? Sometimes he’s in the game [late], not because of offense but because of defense, and there’s a matchup out there that I think he’s good with, he can work with, because I think he’s one of our better on-ball guys. So that plays into it some. To pinpoint an exact thing or issue, what would have him in there or not, that’s difficult for me a little bit. It’s kind of a feel thing.’’

So what was the feel in the Bulls’ 109-107 victory against the Grizzlies?

Dunn started the fourth quarter, and he made sure he’d finish it. It was a big step for someone who has been under the microscope most of the season.

The Bulls have been scouting free agent-to-be point guards, and in two recent games, Boylen leaned on reserve Ryan Arcidiacono late in Dunn’s spot, while Zach LaVine handled most of the playmaking duties.

Boylen even admitted before the game that he was putting Dunn in fewer pick-and-roll situations, especially with the first unit.

It’s a big change from how former coach Fred Hoiberg used Dunn, especially last season when he successfully leaned on Dunn and Lauri Markkanen through a December winning streak.

“He’s in transition more off the ball, running to the corner or the slot,’’ Boylen said of Dunn’s new job description. “That’s an adjustment for him, as it has been for all of our guys. One of the hardest things I’ve had to coach — and not from a standpoint where the guys don’t want to do it but more that they weren’t used to it — is getting them to run when they don’t have the ball. And Kris is used to getting the ball.’’

He was bringing the ball up late against the Grizzlies, at least initiating the offense, but that doesn’t mean he should get comfortable.


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It’s still game-to-game for Dunn, who missed the loss Monday to the Bucks with a migraine. But holding Mike Conley to 7-for-21 shooting from the field was a good way to make his case.

Boylen has been impressed by the fact that Dunn hasn’t voiced displeasure over his changing role.

“He’s a yes-sir, no-sir guy,’’ Boylen said. “I just checked in with him before the game: ‘How did you come through shootaround? How was your nap? How are you doing?’ He said, ‘Good, good. I’m ready to go.’ He’s terrific that way. I can’t ask for more than that.’’

Almost lost in all the Dunn talk was that the Bulls (17-45) have won four of their last five games, including two victories over the fading Grizzlies.

And while it was the usual suspects — LaVine scored 30, and Markkanen had 22 points and 10 rebounds — Boylen said that the last two quarters were Dunn’s “best half of the year.’’

“I just do what I do,’’ Dunn said. “Go out there, play hard, guard, get my guys involved and be aggressive when I can.

“Just be that dog. Just go out there and do what I do.’’

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