After shooting 50.7 percent from the field in a 13-point victory over former coach Scott Skiles and Milwaukee in its season opener on Tuesday, Chicago (1-1) struggled in a 96-80 road loss to defending NBA champion Boston on Friday.
The Bulls’ shooting woes started early, going 4-for-23 from the field and trailing 24-13 after one quarter. Chicago finished shooting 29.8 percent (25-for-84)—its worst performance since hitting 29.9 percent of its shots in a 91-69 loss to Boston on Nov. 6, 2002.
It also was the ninth time since 1991 that the Bulls have shot worse than 30.0 percent from the field.
“We never developed any type of flow offensively,” first-year Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said.
This year’s overall No. 1 draft pick Derrick Rose had 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting with one assist after scoring 11 points with nine assists in his debut.
“There ain’t no time to wait,” Rose, a Chicago native, said of his aggressive offensive approach. “When you get the opportunity, you’ve got to take it.”
Forward Tyrus Thomas had 11 points, but shot 2-for-17 from the field.
While the Bulls hope the familiar confines of the United Center will produce another strong shooting night, they’ll also try to continue their home dominance over Memphis. Though the Grizzlies have won two of the last three meetings overall, Chicago is 11-2 all-time versus the franchise at home and have won four in a row.
Ben Gordon, who had 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting on Friday, is averaging 19.5 points and shooting 49.0 percent in eight career games versus Memphis.
Last season, the Grizzlies (1-1) didn’t win consecutive games until the end of November, but have a chance to do so much earlier after an 86-84 home win over Orlando on Friday.
Rudy Gay hit an 18-foot jumper for the win as time expired and finished with 29 points to lead the Grizzlies to their first win in a home opener since moving to Memphis from Vancouver in 2001.
“I didn’t have a chance to think it was off (line),” Gay said of the final shot. “I was thinking the whole time: ‘I practice this a lot, so go out there and do what I practice.”’
Gay, who had 20 points in a season-opening 82-71 loss at Houston on Wednesday, scored 14 in the fourth quarter on Friday as Memphis rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit.
“Obviously, it was the Rudy show,” Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. “He made some good plays. He made some incredible shots, and the last one was the winner.”
Gay averaged 22.5 points and was 5-for-14 from 3-point range in two games versus Chicago last season.