Friday night seemed to set up perfectly for the Bulls: a home game against a physical, defensive team on national TV, basically a street fight for all to see.
But only one team punched when it mattered, and it wasn’t the Bulls.
“We’re frustrated because we know we’re a better team than that,’’ forward Taj Gibson said after the Bulls’ 85-77 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. “We’re the team that should be the aggressor, should be the outhustle-you team, the team that gets you the extra rebound, but we didn’t do any of that.
‘‘That was a good team over there, and we just have to learn from it.’’
And they had plenty to learn from in the second half.
Leading by seven with 3:40 left in the third, the Bulls (34-28) were outscored 11-2 to close out the quarter.
And in the fourth, they were outrebounded 14-7, including 6-1 on the offensive glass.
“Rebounding was the name of the game,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The third quarter, [we allowed] 30 points. The last five minutes of the third quarter were a disaster.
“We didn’t play well in the second half. In this league, you usually get what you deserve.’’
Even with the Grizzlies (35-26) outrebounding the Bulls 45-38, the game was there for the taking in the fourth. But the Grizzlies held the Bulls scoreless over the last 3:15.
“You have to play for 48 minutes,’’ Thibodeau said. “You can’t pick and choose when you’re going to play. You got to go. We’re at home, five minutes to go down the stretch, this team has shown great toughness all year. I expect us to find a way to get it done.’’
There won’t be a lot of time to figure that out with the next game against the Miami Heat on Sunday at the United Center.
Around the rim
The Bulls had a moment of silence before the game in memory of David Reinsdorf, 51, who died Monday. The players will wear DJR patches on their uniforms for the rest of the season.
Reinsdorf is the son of Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
◆ Joakim Noah played with his right thumb taped but said the injury suffered Wednesday in Detroit was minor.