Butler scores 26 as Bulls beat Grizzlies 95-91
Bulls guard Jimmy Butler believes he’s getting his rhythm back
after missing 12 games this season with injuries.
Butler scored 14 of his season-high 26 points in the third
quarter and Carlos Boozer added 21 points and 10 rebounds to help
Chicago defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 95-91 on Monday night.
Butler, who missed 11 games earlier this season with a right toe
injury and sat out one game on Dec. 21 with a right ankle problem,
shot 6 for 10 overall and 2 of 3 on 3-pointers. He also was 12 of
14 at the foul line in a team-high 41 minutes.
”I’m getting real comfortable,” Butler said. ”I sat down with
a few of the vets, and they just talked to me and told me to play
my game and have fun. When you have fun, everything else takes care
D.J. Augustin had 10 points off the bench for the Bulls,
including eight in the fourth period as Memphis tried to make a
”We played poorly,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said. ”We
played poor in the first half and worse in the third quarter.”
Mike Conley finished with 26 points, nine assists, six rebounds
and six steals to lead the Grizzlies, who had won three of four.
James Johnson scored 13 points, all in the second half, and grabbed
10 rebounds before fouling out with 4:10 left.
Tony Allen also had 13 points but Memphis committed a
season-high 21 turnovers.
”It was awful,” Joerger said. ”We threw the ball all over the
place. We lacked focus. We lacked screening and cutting. We were
loose with the ball.”
The Bulls also had 21 turnovers but they won despite playing
again without leading scorer Luol Deng, who missed his fifth
straight game with a sore left Achilles.
Chicago’s defense began causing real problems for the Grizzlies
in the third as the Bulls opened the second half with a 20-4 run,
fueled by a handful of Memphis turnovers and the Grizzlies missing
11 of their first 13 shots.
That contributed to the Bulls extending the lead to 18 and
eventually carrying a 71-64 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Memphis, led by Conley, chipped away at Chicago’s 18-point
advantage – its largest of the night. The Grizzlies pulled to 72-71
in the fourth and 78-76 later, both after scores by Johnson.
Augustin nailed a long 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with
about 6 minutes left to answer Johnson’s second score.
”It was a tough shot at a tough moment,” Augustin said.
”Whenever somebody does that to a team, it takes away their
momentum. They had it going at the time.”
Augustin’s basket started a 10-2 run, capped by Kirk Hinrich’s
3-pointer with 3:33 left, that pushed the Bulls’ lead back to
That was enough for Chicago to earn its fourth victory in the
last 12 games.
”It’s very tough against them,” Conley said. ”You can’t give
them a 15-point lead and expect to not be worn out by the time you
get the ball back and you’re down two. They’re a fantastic
defensive team. They work hard. They have a bunch of guys that love
to play D. It was tough.”
NOTES: Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau missed the morning shootaround
to attend his father’s funeral in Connecticut. The elder Thibodeau
died on Christmas Day, according to published reports. ”Our
family, once I saw they were good, I felt good about (coaching),”
Thibodeau said before the game. … Bulls G Derrick Rose, who
played one season at the University of Memphis, missed the game
with his right knee injury. Rose has returned only twice to Memphis
to play against the Grizzlies in his NBA career. … Conley’s 26
points were the most he has had since scoring 28 against Minnesota
on Dec. 15 – the last game before he missed two straight with a
left thigh bruise. … Chicago was 6 for 15 from 3-point range.