Coming off of an overtime victory in Boston last night, the Chicago Bulls looked to grab a victory against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies back on their home turf. The Bulls headed to their third-straight overtime game with an 82-85 loss in their second game of a back-to-back.
Luol Deng sat out the game after re-injuring his hamstring in yesterday’s win, so Jimmy Butler joined Kirk Hinrich, Richard Hamilton, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah in the starting lineup.
To start off , the Bulls won the tip, and he scored first points off a right-wing jumper from Boozer. Soon, they were up 4-0, and Memphis would be held scoreless for nearly three minutes.
Once the Grizzlies got on the scoreboard, their offense started up. The game remained close throughout the quarter, and Hinrich found himself in foul trouble early committing two fouls, but Chicago managed to end up on top 22-18 as the quarter ended. Noah had 10 of those 22 points for the Bulls, six of which came as a result of dunks.
The second quarter was much worse for the Bulls as they found themselves trailing Memphis 34-44 at halftime. After committing no turnovers in the first quarter, Chicago committed six turnovers. The Grizzlies out-rebounded them 22-19 by halftime, and outscored them 26-12 in the second quarter. Mike Conley continued to thrive on the offensive end while Rudy Gay, who struggled at first, found some shots to go. The Bulls had 2 points in the paint for the quarter, and whatever they had done to succeed at first had been left there.
But the third quarter was no where near an improvement. Boozer scored on a layup to get the Bulls’ first points of the half, but halfway through the quarter, they had not scored again. While the Bulls were struggling to find any kind of offense, Memphis had no problem finding the bottom of the net. Chicago took the first timeout of the quarter with 5:53 remaining in the quarter trailing 36-52.
Eventually, the Bulls did make a little run. Hinrich hit a three to make it 40-54. Following that, Gibson got a dunk forcing Memphis to call a timeout. Gibson put down another slam coming out of the timeout off a pass from Butler. This put the Bulls within ten, down 44-54. Chicago would score three more points in the quarter, all off of free throws. Despite the small run, they still trailed 47-60 at the end of the third.
The fourth quarter featured a Bulls team fighting back for the lead. They went on a 6-0 run that forced Memphis to call a timeout with 10:33 left in the fourth quarter: Butler hit a pair of free throws, Boozer added in two of his own free throws, and Robinson fed Butler for a layup to cut the Grizzlies’ lead, 53-60.
Chicago came within five points of tying Memphis after Butler was tripped by Conley, resulting in a clear path foul and two points off of free throws for Butler. From there on, the Bulls fought back cutting the lead down to one, 68-69 with 4:08 remaining in the quarter, after Marco Belinelli made a left-wing three. Chicago had gone on a 9-0 run.
Before long, the Bulls had got a hold of a one-point lead, but that quickly turned into a tie game. Nate Robinson then banked in a three to give Chicago the 75-72 lead. Afterwards, Memphis’ Marc Gasol scored 4 points to take the lead back, 76-75. But Belinelli would then be fouled by Gasol, and would split a pair of free throws. The game was then tied at 76, and no one could retrieve the lead from there, thus sending the game into overtime.
Overtime began with the Grizzlies going on a quick 4-0 run. Belinelli finally got the Bulls some points after driving for a layup. Butler followed with a layup of his own to make it 80-83. Chicago’s play from then on were just a bunch of ups-and-downs combined together. A bad shot, a steal, then a turnover. They could not get their act together.
Robinson did get the lead for Chicago with 6 seconds remaining with a layup, but right after, Memphis’ Jerryd Bayless got out into the open court for an easy layup. Robinson and Boozer each attempted threes of their own in an attempt to steal the win, but neither could succeed. After three-straight wins, all in overtime, Chicago failed to extend the streak to four and go undefeated in overtime games.
Jimmy Butler had 18 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals in his first career start. Boozer (17 points and 14 rebounds) and Taj Gibson (10 points and 12 rebounds) each posted double-doubles. Memphis had Zach Randolph with a double-double of 13 points and 19 rebounds while Conley, Gasol, and Gay each neared a double-double.
Joakim Noah was not on the court for the fourth quarter or overtime. Noah’s benching was questioned by many. Some wondered if he was injured or fatigued. According to Nick Friedell, Bulls PR had informed him that Noah had not suffered an injury; rather it was all on Coach Tom Thibodeau.
The Bulls return to action on Monday, January 21, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as they take on the Los Angeles Lakers in their lone visit to the United Center at 8:30 PM CT.