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Bulls continue to frustrate their demanding coach

2013-01-19T21:00:00Z 2013-01-21T20:11:07Z Bulls continue to frustrate their demanding coachAl Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
January 19, 2013 9:00 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was in another foul mood Saturday night, and that was before the team's game against Memphis.

Maybe it was the two previous overtime wins at Toronto and Boston, or the unsettling day-to-day status of starter Luol Deng (hamstring), or that 11-10 record at home so uncharacteristic of his Bulls.

"I'm just worried about Memphis tonight. That's what I'm worried about," Thibodeau said in his pregame discussion with the media.

Scoring only 25 points in the middle two quarters and then unable to rally in the final seconds of OT, the Bulls fell short 85-82 in an exhausting game that came down to a battle of wills.

Marc Gasol had 19 points and Zach Randolph grabbed a game-high 19 rebounds, but missed a pair a free throws with 36.8 seconds to go and the Grizzlies nursing an 83-80 lead.

The Bulls (23-16) shot 37 percent for the game, missed 7 of 10 shots in the extra period, and are now 3-1 in overtimes.

Jimmy Butler's 18 points led Chicago. Carlos Boozer had 17 to go with 14 rebounds and Taj Gibson grabbed a dozen.

"The fourth quarter, we kept fighting and fighting. Guys stepped up and made plays," Gibson said of the 76-76 tie. "They were a lot more aggressive in the overtime. The refs let us play. It was a dogfight until the end; bodies banging."

Chicago came in allowing 91.9 ppg., Memphis 89.8.

"They're a lot more than just one man (Zach Randolph). They're a very talented team. They play great defense. They're physical in the paint," Thibodeau said.

Butler (5.4 ppg.) started in place of Deng (17.4), logged 47 minutes, and grabbed eight rebounds.

"Here's the thing. It's part of the NBA," Thibodeau said. "Derrick (Rose) and Luol being out, you don't replace those guys. Jimmy has shown good steady progress and continues to improve with the extended minutes he's gotten."

Memphis outscored the Bulls 26-12 in the second quarter for a 44-34 halftime lead, aided by Chicago's six turnovers and 28 percent shooting.

An 8-2 Grizzlies' run to begin the third quarter made it 52-36 before many fans had returned to their seats.

"We've got to play for 48 minutes," Thibodeau had said. "We can't have lulls where you let your guard down or you're not playing great defense and not rebounding the ball.

"If you're giving a team a second and third shot, you've negated that great effort."

Memphis (26-13) led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter. 

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