The Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday, with the shooting of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, made a bar-b-cue out of the Bulls in a 98-91 Grizzlies victory.
The Bulls were led by Rajon Rondo with 17 points and 14 points from Nikola Mirotic and Jimmy Butler. Denzel Valentine had 11 points. Gasol and Conley each had 27 points. The Bulls were unable to capitalize on a 21-2 advantage in fast break points with 37.5 percent shooting. Rondo also had eight assists and six rebounds. The Bulls were outrebounded 52-45.
The Bulls fell to 32-36 as they head for Washington Friday. The Grizzlies are 38-30.
The Bulls were without Cameron Payne, out with a foot injury. The Bulls stayed with Rajon Rondo starting at point guard, which seems like it will be the lineup to finish the season, and Mirotic first off the bench. Rondo opened the scoring with a drive and then the teams traded baskets throughout the first quarter, the Grizzlies ahead 13-9 and then the Bulls making it 15-15 after five straight Wade points and then 22-22 with two minutes left in the quarter and tied at 24 after one. The Bulls edged ahead 32-29 early in the second quarter with Michael Carter-Williams back as first point guard off the bench. The Grizzlies went ahead 40-36 on a pair of Troy Daniels threes. Carter-Williams shot back with one, but Mike Conley pushed Memphis put ahead 45-39 with 4:06 left in the half. Butler then exerted himself and the Bulls were back tied at 47 with two minutes left in the first half. Conley with 14 first half points carried the Grizzlies to a 54-50 halftime lead.
The Bulls staggered to start the second half as the Grizzlies sent the Bulls into a timeout after two minutes with seven straight points for a 61-50 lead. Conley added a three, but the Bulls recovered with Rondo adding a three to get within 66-61 with 5:22 left in the third. That put Rondo 10 of 17 on threes in March. It was Rondo then as the pace began to speed up with a drive before the Grizzlies defense set and lob pass to Butler for a dunk as the Bulls went into the fourth quarter trailing 74-71. Rondo led the Bulls in scoring through three with 14 points, though Memphis had a crucial 15 second chance points beating the Bulls to the offensive boards. The Bulls kept battling back and got a three from Valentine to get back within two with 8:35 left. The Bulls tied it at 83 on a Mirotic three before Marc Gasol drove for a three-point play with 4:20 left to put the Grizzlies back on top. Wade did not return in the fourth with an elbow injury as the Grizzlies got jumpers from Conley and Gasol for a 91-86 lead with 2:32 left in the game.