It was a horrible loss for the Chicago Bulls, as they were pounded by the Memphis Grizzlies 108-92. Chicago showed no heart or energy whatsoever in this game and got beat by a team that is more injured than they are. The Bulls coming into this game had their injury issues as both Taj Gibson (ribs) and E'Twaun Moore (hamstring) were both out for Chicago. But the injury situation in Memphis was way worse. The Grizzlies are still without their top players in Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, and basically have signed a lot of players from the D-League to play for them.
Unfortunately, the Bulls got no production from anyone not named Pau Gasol or Nikola Mirotic, as the likes of Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose looked really bad playing together. Butler only scored four points on the night and Rose scored 12 points on 5 of 15 shooting.
Believe it or not, this game started close, as the Bulls were only down two at the end of the first at 23-21. Chicago was pretty good on the defensive end in the period as they had 5 blocks. Pau Gasol led Chicago with 6 points, but he was severely overmatched when it came to paint production. Zach Randolph had a great first quarter as he scored 10 points and took advantage of the fact that neither of the starting bigs in Gasol or Bobby Portis can play post defense or rebound. Although Randolph doesn't have the jump of a big man, his positioning is great on missed shots and he has great touch around the rim and that allowed him to score double digits in the first quarter alone. It was a very ugly first quarter from both teams as both offenses looked very out of sync but were bailed out by just as bad defense.
The game up until that point seemed like one Memphis run would just kill the spirit of the Bulls and that is exactly what happened. Memphis went on a mini 7-0 run during the second quarter which stretched the lead to double digits and that's the way it stayed up until halftime with score 54-44. Randolph and Gasol were leading their respective teams as Z-Bo had 18 points and 8 rebounds at the half. Pau had 11 points to lead the Bulls. But even with Gasol in double digits, Chicago's offense looked really bad. With both Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose in the lineup, Chicago failed to get any real scoring from their guards in the first half and sadly that continued in the second half. It was more surprising to see the stat line of Butler that showed zero points at halftime.
The third quarter is when the wheels really started to fall off for the Bulls. Memphis opened up a 20-point lead on Chicago as the Bulls made the pick and roll combo of Jordan Farmar and Chris Anderson unstoppable. It was really sad to watch. Chicago just seemed to give up on the game and the turnovers just kept piling up. There are no other way to describe the third quarter than it was just an awful stretch by the Bulls. If you could put the entire Bulls season in one quarter, it was this one.
Bulls can't guard the Farmar/Chris Andersen pick and roll. Neither of those guys should be in the league. Butler pleading w/ Pau to step up.— Stephen Noh (@hungarianjordan) April 6, 2016
Down 83-65 going into the final quarter, it looked all but over as the first six minutes of the quarter featured the Bulls and Grizzlies just drag their feet across the court as both teams looked like they didn't want to play. Chicago decided to start trying with around 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit down to 9 points and giving a small sliver of hope that they could somehow win this game. Then the next Grizzlies possession saw Matt Barnes drain a 3 to push the lead back to 12 and the Bulls never got closer. Butler finally scored with a couple of minutes let in the 4th quarter as he put in a tough basket for his first points of the game, too little and too late.
The real problem is that Chicago isn't exactly out of the playoff race yet. Detroit got washed by Miami so the Bulls still have a small chance at making the playoffs. I doubt that will be the case after their game in Miami on Thursday.