Sometimes your basketball team is outmatched on that particular night.
But then the fourth quarter rolled around. The Bulls outscored the Grizzlies 31-23 in the final frame, but it wasn’t quite enough to overcome a 14-point third quarter deficit as Memphis left the United Center with a 116-110 victory.
The Bulls six-game winning streak that dates back to before the All-Star break comes to an abrupt end. Chicago had no answer for the Grizzlies star point guard Ja Morant who finished with a career-high 46 points on 15-for-28 from the field.
For awhile, it looked like this game wasn’t going to be very competitive. In the second and third quarters the Grizzlies were well in control, leading by double-digits throughout and on several occasions it looked like they would be able to bust this one open and turn it into a snooze fest.
But in front of its home crowd, the Bulls mounted a heroic fourth quarter comeback that fell just short. It really started when Jaren Jackson Jr. picked up a technical foul and had to be taken out of the game. On the back of DeMar DeRozan’s lethal midrange game, the Bulls cut a deficit that had topped out at 17 in the fourth quarter down to six points with about six minutes to go. The Bulls went on a 15-4 run and held the Grizzlies scoreless from 9:06 to 3:56 in the quarter.
Morant, who was quiet during that stretch, began to wake up again and for awhile he and DeRozan treated fans to a back-and-forth of beautiful basketball.
The closest the Bulls would get was at the 2:28 mark when Zach LaVine drove hard and kicked it out to Coby White who drained a 3-point field goal to bring the Bulls to within one.
The two teams traded buckets on the next two possessions. After that, the Grizzles were able to corral a long offensive rebound and then Desmond Band nailed a 3-point field goal to give Memphis a 111-107 advantage with 1:21 to play.
The Bulls were able to cut it to one and had a chance with 25 seconds to play. But after a brain lapse, the Bulls fouled Tyus Jones instead of Stephen Adams and Jones was able to hit both free throws.
On the next possession, DeRozan was unable to finish through a double team flailing to the ground in the process. No foul was called and after DeRozan said something to the referee he was ejected from the game because that was his second technical foul.
DeRozan finished with 31 points although he wasn’t efficient tonight (10-for-29 from the field). Zach LaVine had 28 points while Nikola Vucevic recorded a 11 point, 12 rebound double-double. Coby White had 15 points off the bench.
The Bulls turn their sights to the Miami Heat on Monday night in another big matchup. The Bulls haven’t beaten the Heat this season in two tries.
The concerning stat of the day courtesy Cody Westerlund: