This was the part of the schedule that Bulls players were looking forward to.
Memphis on Friday night, Miami on Sunday, and then the likes of San Antonio, Houston and Oklahoma City all coming to town in the next week.
“It’s going to be really interesting to see what our team is made of against the best teams in the league,’’ center Joakim Noah said. “So it’s special to be able to do it in this building. It’s cool. It’s exciting.’’
It’s also off to a shaky start.
Thanks to a 45-38 Grizzlies rebounding edge – a statistic the Bulls (34-28) are not used to losing – Memphis’ defense put the clamps on the Bulls, holding them scoreless over the final 3:15 of the game to win, 85-77.
Taj Gibson led the Bulls with 18 points off the bench, while Noah had 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the loss. Meanwhile, Marc Gasol scored a team-high 18 points for Memphis (35-26).