Grizz handle Rose-less Bulls at home
Mike Conley delivered a direct message to his Memphis Grizzlies before they played the Chicago Bulls.
''I said, `Let's not forget what happened,'' Conley recounted from the pregame huddle.
''That was the last thing I said to them: `That was an embarrassing loss. Let's go out there and just play hard and leave it all out there on the court,''' he said.
Beaten by 40 points by the Bulls on New Year's Day, the Grizzlies bounced back to defeat Chicago 102-86 Monday.
''I thought guys really took that to heart, especially in the first 6-7 minutes of the game,'' Conley said.
Rudy Gay scored 24 points and Conley added 20 points and eight assists as Memphis ended Chicago's five-game winning streak. The Bulls played without leading scorer Derrick Rose, who missed his second game in the last four with a sprained left toe.
Quite a different outcome than the Grizzlies' 104-64 drubbing in Chicago two weeks ago.
''Without having D-Rose out there, we had to take advantage of it,'' Conley said.
Marc Gasol had 19 points and 10 rebounds while Marreese Speights finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds for Memphis, which extended its winning streak to three games. Gay was 11 of 18 from the field while Gasol and Conley both hit nine of their 13 shots.
''I thought we came out with great energy and great focus,'' Memphis coach Lionel Holllins said. ''Our defense was really good.''
Luol Deng led the Bulls with 20 points and C.J. Watson finished with 17. Taj Gibson had 16 points and Carlos Boozer added 13 points, all in the first half, and seven rebounds.
''I don't think we did a good job mentally preparing for them. We should have been ready for that,'' Deng said of the potential retaliation factor. ''We should have known that anytime you beat a team like that in the NBA, next time, they can't wait to see you. We should have been more prepared.''
The Bulls rallied late in the third period and cut the lead to nine early in the fourth. Chicago got no closer.
Memphis had more trouble handling the ball in the first half than shooting it. Still, the Grizzlies were able to extend their lead through the second quarter when they cut back on their turnovers.
The Grizzlies overcame eight first-quarter turnovers by shooting 78 percent to open the game. Memphis led 58-38 at halftime.
Memphis built its biggest lead at 69-42 early in the third period. Later in the period, Chicago got to the basket for layups and the Grizzlies were adding fouls to mistakes, sending the Bulls to the line.
The Memphis lead dwindled to 11 by the end of the period. The Bulls kept up their defensive pressure to open the fourth, and Chicago was able to get the lead under double digits early in the period.
But Memphis scored nine unanswered points, capped by Gasol's second basket in the streak, and Memphis had stretched the lead to 92-74 with 6:36 left.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau noted that the Grizzlies dominated key parts of the game by outrebounding the Bulls, the league's leading rebounding team, 46-34.
''They got great shots. They killed us on the boards. They turned us over,'' Thibodeau said. ''If you don't defend, you don't rebound and you turn it over, you don't give yourself much of a chance to win.''
NOTES: The game was played on the holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. The Grizzlies annually play on the date. Before the game, former NBA stars George Gervin and Clyde Drexler were recognized for their contributions to civil and human rights. Memphis is 5-5 on MLK Day games. ... Rose played one year at the University of Memphis. ... The game drew 18,119, Memphis' second sellout of the season. Memphis was only the fourth team this season to score 100 points on the Bulls. Chicago is a different team at home. Entering the game, the Bulls have allowed teams only 66.8 points a game. On the road, they had allowed 93.2 before Monday's game.