It was an ugly start, but improvements were made. In the end, though, it ended with disappointment. The Chicago Bulls began their six-game home stand with an 85-77 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.
Both teams got off to a horrendous start offensively. Midway through the first quarter, the score was 8-4 in favor of Chicago. Neither team could really get into an offensive rhythm.
By the conclusion of the quarter, Memphis led 12-15. The Grizzlies had the better, yet still terrible, field goal percentage of 33.3 percent compared to the Bulls’ 21.7 percent. None of the players who saw playing time had more than four points either.
This changed once the second quarter rolled around, though.
D.J. Augustin stepped up by scoring 12 of the 27 second quarter points, which was as many as Chicago scored in the entire first quarter. Whether it came on threes or drives to the bucket, Augustin was getting work done. Joakim Noah also went on a little run to end the first half. He scored seven points in the final three minutes.
The Bulls’ offensive discovery in the second period nearly doubled its field goal percentage from the first quarter going from 21.7 percent to 42.1 percent. Memphis also found its offense with the help of Jon Leuer and Marc Gasol, but Chicago was able to stay ahead with a 39-35 halftime lead.
Neither team opened up the second half as bad as they did to start the game. Rather, both teams got into an offensive rhythm quickly. The difference, though, was how the Bulls were able to extend upon their lead. They were able to lengthen their lead over the Grizzlies to as many as seven points, but it would soon vanish.
Mike Miller played a large role in gaining the lead back for Memphis, as he scored eight points in the final three minutes of the third quarter.
The Grizzlies maintained their lead for the remainder of the game, but it wasn’t done without a fight from the Bulls. Chicago was able to get within two points of a tie halfway through the final quarter, but none of the Bulls were able to take advantage of the opportunity.
It also hurt that the Bulls, one of the best rebounding teams in the league, were getting outworked on the boards in the second half. As a result, they were out-rebounded 45-38 for the game as a whole.
Taj Gibson led Chicago with 18 points, four rebounds and one steal. Noah added 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Next on the schedule for the Bulls, now 34-28, is a Sunday afternoon matchup with the Miami Heat at 12 p.m. central.