Tonight the Chicago Bulls fell short to the Memphis Grizzlies 80-71 which was probably one of the ugliest NBA games we have witnessed all year.
Kirk Hinrich returned to the starting lineup and he really struggled. Kirk was 2-8 from the field, 0-4 from behind the arc and he never stepped foot on the foul line. Hinrich scored just 4 points, turned the ball over four times, managed two rebounds and dished out five assists. Kirk is a nice defensive asset but when it comes to his offensive flow, he has yet to find his rhythm ; and honestly it seems like he can’t stay healthy long enough to develop his offense.
The Bulls dominated the first quarter, everything was going right for Chicago, their defense held the grizzlies to just 22.2% shooting, Boozer and Deng controlled the offensive tempo they contributed heavily to the 20-11 point lead the Bulls sustained at the end of the first. Boozer had a double double tonight: sixteen points and thirteen rebounds. Carlos ruled on offense tonight, however he didn’t have much help the rest of the regulation.
In the second quarter it was all down hill for the Bulls. Once the Grizzlies bench got going and Wayne Ellington dropped 11 points, nine of which came from back-to back-to back triples. The Bulls never gained their momentum back. Memphis’ bench outscored Chicago’s 18-6. The short handed Bulls squad then went on to allow the Grizzlies to out score them 28-14 overall in the second quarter.
The third quarter the Bulls packed in a little punch, fighting back from a horrific second quarter. Chicago was at Memphis’ throat scoring 19 against the Grizzlies 22. Through three quarters of play it was obvious that both teams were way off tonight. The Bulls lost touch with their rebounding, transitional scoring, and the turnovers about killed them. Memphis was hot and cold with their scoring, Chicago’s defense was all over their spread all night; however for being one of the top 3 point defending teams in the league, the Bulls lost their touch. The Grizzlies torched them behind the arc.
In the fourth quarter the Bulls had plenty of opportunities to come back win the game but their shots were not going, and Memphis’ defense had Chicago’s spread all figured out a five point lead quickly turned into a 10 point lead. Rudy Gay finally warmed up scoring 6 of his 11 points, and the Grizzlies never looked back.
Tonight was an all around slop-fest for both teams, it seemed like it took both teams forever to reach 70 points. The Grizzlies and Bulls have a history of playing close-rugged out games against each other. In the last ten meetings at the Fed Ex Forum the Bulls have won just five.
The biggest question I have for tonight is why didn’t Thibs put the Bulls upstart rookie in the game? Marquis Teague came up huge for the Bulls against Brooklyn Saturday night, and Chicago missed his fastbreak scoring and his ability to read the defense. Thibodeau is old fashioned and believes rookies must earn their minutes. With that being said Bulls fans all kind of expected to see Teague in the fourth along with Gibson and Jimmy Butler. Teague is always one to be confident in himself whether he is playing or on the bench. Hopefully tonight was a bit of an eye opener for Thibodeau that our rookie means more than we think. Teague would have helped tremendously in early second quarter transitions, guarding up Ellington’s perimeter shots.
Tonight was the lowest scored game for the Bulls since January, 2oo8 when they scored just 67 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Tomorrow night the Bulls host the Celtics, whether we will see any transitional secondary changes or not will be a complete mystery. The Bulls have got to pull it together on an offensive and second chance end. If the Bulls can hold their own and keep the tempo alive, tomorrow’s game will be a lot easier to watch.