there were no images from this game, so pretend he just blew by Kirk Hinrich - USA TODAY Sports
The Bulls literally barely got to 70 points tonight. It was that awful. Granted, these are two top-5 defenses, and both teams are also bottom-5 in pace, so it had the potential to be really slow and, um, 'defensive-minded'. But it looked to be worse than expected when the Grizzlies had an opening quarter where they shot 4/21 with 7 Turnovers...yet the Bulls were only up 9. While Neil Funk was cackling at the sight of some Rudy Gay misses (granted, sorta deserved, though Neil's nominally a professional broadcaster) the Bulls were also not taking advantage.
The second quarter quickly erased the idea of the Griz laying a complete stinker, as their bench came in and hit 5/5 from three (6/10 over the course of the game) to take the lead. Through the rest of the game the Bulls always trailed, and though the deficit hovered around 7 for much of that time, it might as well have been 30 the way they were playing offensively. Again, some credit is due to the Grizzlies, as the Bulls showed how when a team makes things difficult on their initial looks there's no transcendent shotmaker to overcome it.
Kirk Hinrich returned from a one-game absence but probably should've stayed away if he was going to play like this. The craptain had been playing better recently, but Monday night was a complete dud: 2-8 for 4 points in 31 minutes, with 4 turnovers to mitigate 5 assists. Defensively, he was frequently torched by Mike Conley, and was ejected right before the game was over with his 6th foul. Also had a couple really-awful looking sequences: an ups-and-downs turnover, and a 'zero-for-one' end of the first half where Hinrich tried to get two shots but wound up with 2 turnovers (one was technically Noah) and a Conley basket on the other end. So maybe a 'zero-for-negative2'. Or something. He sucked.
Shots weren't coming from anywhere on the perimeter. Belinelli had the two Bulls made 3s of the night (out of eleven attempts for the team, ugh), but finished 4-12 overall including a lot of wild misses on bailout attempts. Deng was 4-17 and a goose-egg from beyond the arc. Nate Robinson offered no positive alternative to Hinrich, and though I don't think Marquis Teague would've done any better in the game it's fair to ask what's the point of DNPing him if the other guys are going this poorly.
The Grizzlies had their issues as well, especially in the frontcourt where Gay/Randolph/Gasol were a combined 10-34. But what they did do, pretty surprisingly, was destroy the Bulls on the boards. It's an emphasis for Chicago (since we know putting the round thing into the other round thing isn't), yet the Bulls gave up 38% of potential defensive rebounds to the Grizzlies (led with 7 ORebs by Randolph). The Griz bigs also did a great job shutting down the paint, as the Bulls were forced (due to personnel if anything) inside in the 4th quarter and could not get a clean look.
Carlos Boozer started the game effectively aggressive, and finished with a team-high 16 points and 13 boards, but eventually regressed into his point-per-shot efficiency and couldn't be counted on to get a good shot late. Joakim Noah tried to generate offense on the perimeter in his 41 (oy) minutes, which hopefully was more tactical than fatigue, though his ineffectiveness on the boards would suggest the latter. Taj Gibson was a bit better on the boards but didn't produce nearly enough. The Grizzlies are known for their powerful frontcourt, and though they put up a pretty awful offensive performance in their own right, it was they who were the ones to grind out an ugly win.