It's the simplest play in basketball but when players run it to perfection the pick and roll is almost impossible to stop, as evidenced by the Memphis Grizzlies duo of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol.
They bludgeoned the Bulls with consistency, the same way they've done to the league since adopting the "grit and grind" mantra at the start of the decade, hitting just enough jumpers late to stymie the Bulls with a 98-91 win at the United Center, making it six of seven losses for the Bulls.
The unheralded center and suddenly well-paid point guard each scored 27 by way of slow death and execution, as they both hit critical triples in the final minutes to help the Grizzlies pull away and hold off the competitive Bulls, who needed one of their stars to step up late.
"They have two great players," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "They made huge shots, big plays. They slowed it down, took away rhythm from us."
Jimmy Butler certainly didn't look like his usual self, struggling to a 14-point night on just four of 16 shooting, missing all his 3-point attempts. Dwyane Wade took a hard fall in the second half on his right elbow and didn't play in the fourth quarter, leaving the team without their top playmakers being at optimal efficiency.
He'll have an MRI Thursday but it could be similar to Butler's 2015 left elbow injury that had him miss a month before the playoffs.
"He asked me how long I was out, I told him and he was like wow," Butler said. "It is what it is. Hopefully it's not what I had. But I know it's pain, I know that much. I know how it feels."
Rajon Rondo led the Bulls with 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds as he kept Conley reasonably in check before Conley found his rhythm against other Bulls defenders.
Conley kept exploiting the Bulls' pick-and-roll strategy where they challenged him to hit perimeter shots and he beat them nearly every time they went under screens as opposed to chasing him over the top.
Hitting critical triples on his way to a 27-point, nine-rebound and seven-assist night, he helped the Grizzlies get critical rebounds and loose balls when it seemed like they were there for the taking.
"They got to all the loose balls. We missed shots, we didn't rebound when we needed to," Butler said. "But we've been up and down all year. And it seems like we're down right now."
One small revelation Hoiberg has probably come upon is that with starting Rondo—despite him hitting three of four triples—he doesn't space the floor enough for Butler and Wade to work their magic, although that didn't contribute wholly to their struggles.
The Grizzlies suffocate even the best teams, so it wasn't much of a surprise to see the Bulls struggle offensively.
"They're tough to score against in the half court. Our pace was really good early," Hoiberg said. "The halfcourt wasn't as efficient as it was the other night. The movement wasn't as good."
And if Nikola Mirotic is going to play definitively, he has to start over Bobby Portis, just to space the floor.
Mirotic, probably worn down after battling Zach Randolph on the blocks for the majority of his minutes and getting a few pounds of flesh defensively, hit back to back triples to keep pace with the Grizzlies, tying it at 83 with under five minutes remaining.
If not for the Bulls' 3-point shooting, they wouldn't have been able to keep up with the Grizzlies, particularly late as Wade was hobbled and didn't play in the fourth.
They matched the Grizzlies with 11 triples, with Mirotic and Denzel Valentine each hitting three.
But the Bulls could only muster 37 percent shooting overall as the Grizzlies still had more than enough grit and grind to keep the Bulls at bay, adding one more loss to a ledger that has too many as is with 14 games remaining.