Wade leaves game due to injury, Bulls fall to Grizzlies

Chicago Bulls guard and forward Jimmy Butler, left, talks with guard Denzel Valentine during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday in Chicago.

By Mateo Avila

CHICAGO – The Chicago Bulls (32-36) fell to the Memphis Grizzlies (38-30) 98-91 Wednesday at the United Center.

Not only did the Bulls lose the game, but they may have also lost Dwyane Wade, shooting guard and star player, after Wade exited early in the fourth quarter due to an elbow injury.

“Hopefully, it’s not as bad as I perceived it to be,” Wade said, “I knew it was something more just because of what I heard. I tired to play through it a little bit until the pain started getting a little more.”

Bulls Head Coach Fred Hoiberg said Wade will undergo an MRI.

The game was close for the first half with the two teams trading baskets and neither team leading by more than six points. The game was tied at 24 after the first quarter. The Bulls were able to take a brief lead at 32-29 early in the second, but the Grizzlies responded with some sharp outside shooting to regain the edge for the remainder of the quarter, going into halftime with a 54-50 lead.

The Bulls staggered out of the locker room as the Grizzlies scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to take a 64-50 advantage, but the Bulls responded with a 21-11 run of their own, capped off by a mid-court alley-oop from point guard Rajon Rondo to guard and forward Jimmy Butler to close the gap to 74-71 entering the final quarter.

The Bulls’ power forward Nikola Mirotic nailed a couple three pointers in the fourth quarter, but Grizzlies all-star center Marc Gasol responded with a three-and-one dunk to push the Grizzlies back in front. The Bulls failed to take advantage of their edge in fast break points and were never able to take the lead in the final quarter.

The Bulls were led by Rondo’s 17 points and 14 points a piece from Butler and Mirotic. Rookie Denzel Valentine, and Bulls shooting guard, also chipped in 11 points off the bench.

The Bulls have lost six of their past seven games and have fallen to 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings but still only a game behind the Detroit Pistons for the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Bulls will travel to the nation’s capital to take on the Washington Wizards at 6 p.m. Friday.