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Bulls vs. Grizzlies final score: Gasol on Gasol crime hands Bulls 3rd straight loss

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Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

After what was an ugly, yet evenly-matched first half between the Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies, the 2nd half saw alternating runs by both teams, but the final one going to the Grizzlies for a 101-91 win.

Pau Gasol started the game strong, seemingly energized facing his younger brother (and fellow All-Star) Marc, but only had 4 points after halftime while getting worked on the defensive end. Though Marc Gasol did alright on post-ups, it was when he was the screen-setter and out in space where they really attacked Pau. It was a story we've seen a lot of this season, though maybe due to the matchup (and some foul non-calls, if you asked him) this may have been the most frustrated Pau's been all season.

The Grizzlies broke through to a double-digit lead in that 3rd period behind Marc (15 of his 23 points in that 3rd quarter) and his frontcourt mate Zach Randolph, and only some random Aaron Brooks (15 points on 14 shots) makes kept things from getting a lot worse at multiple times in the game. A quick couple baskets to start the 4th made it seem like the back-to-back (and 4th game in 5 nights) might have left the Bulls with nothing left in the tank.

But with Nikola 'mr. 4th quarter' Mirotic inserted in a frontcourt pairing with Noah, and MarcGasol/Randolph conveniently out of the game (Kosta Koufus was -15 in 12 minutes), the Bulls went on a huge run to take the lead. The 20-4 surge was propelled by another great shooting performance by Tony Snell, who hit three 3-pointers in that time and added a steal+layup. The run also included this crazy Mirotic spin-move.

But Snell's 3rd three was a short-lasting peak, as after finding themselves down 4 the Grizzlies turned it back on and outscored the Bulls 17-3 to end the game. That included a technical FT awarded to Memphis because the Bulls had 6 men on the floor.

Mirotic had a three-pointer which was the only points the Bulls scored in the final few minutes, and it probably was a game where he needed to be out there more in favor of Pau (Nazr also played nearly 8 minutes, so there's some time...). Thibodeau kind of hedged in the final few possessions by having all three of his bigs on the court at the same time, but that didn't stop the bleeding either. For much of the game, even with Pau and Brooks having some nice moments in the first half, the offense was often too bogged down in post-ups. Though to be honest, the 2nd quarter was full of the pass-happy no-spacing turnovers (15 in the game) we've seen recently as well. Though to be fair to Thibs, Niko did play nearly 29 minutes and had some struggles defensively in the first half, looking pretty worn down himself (and now sporting a thumb wrap with his shoulder sleeve, fan-tastic).

And, since by rule it must be mentioned: the Bulls were without their starting backcourt, which throws a wrench in a lot of whatever offensive flow they're hoping to achieve nightly. Hinrich and Moore combined for 14 points on 11 shots (that's good productivity, considering), but Mike Dunleavy started the game ice cold and finished with 5 points going 1-6 from three. The Grizzlies, especially their bench and Mike Conley (shot 3-13) were missing a lot of looks themselves which helped keep things tight in the first half, but their frontcourt had 2 good runs in them to end the game whereas the Bulls could only muster one.

Chicago gets a bit of a schedule break finally, with a day off then facing the D-League Sixers.