Butler, Mirotic lead Bulls over Grizzlies 103-97
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Jimmy Butler scored 31 points, Nikola Mirotic added a season-best 27, and the Chicago Bulls snapped Memphis' six-game winning streak with a 103-97 victory over the Grizzlies on Friday night.
Butler connected on 11 of 21 in the game, while Mirotic connected on all six of his shots beyond the arc, setting a season standard for 3-pointers made. Aaron Brooks scored 17 points and Joakim Noah finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Butler also had 10 rebounds as the Bulls outrebounded Memphis 51-45.
Mike Conley led Memphis with 21 points, while Beno Udrih added 15 points before leaving with a hand injury in the fourth quarter. Marc Gasol had 13 points, but was 5 of 15 from the field, part of Memphis shooting 39 percent for the game. Vince Carter scored 10 for Memphis.
The Bulls defense kept Memphis from getting to the inside, but even when they did Gasol, and Zach Randolph had trouble converting. The Grizzlies front line duo was a combined 9 of 26 from the field in the game, and Randolph didn't even play in the fourth quarter as Memphis tried to come back with outside shooting.
Meanwhile, Pau Gasol was limited to six points on 2 of 7 shooting for Chicago.
Memphis was able to get within three points on a couple of occasions in the final 36 seconds, and Conley's 3-pointer with 13.8 seconds left pulled Memphis within 99-97.
But the Bulls converted their free throws down the stretch, making nine of 10 in the final 35.5 seconds, including a pair from reserve guard E'Twaun Moore, his only points of the night.
The teams stayed close through much of the first half until Mirotic came off the Chicago bench to collect 13 of his 15 first-half points in the second quarter, including four 3-pointers. That pushed the Bulls lead to nine points. Butler added 12 points for Chicago.
Chicago used Mirotic's offense to carry a 51-43 lead into the break.
Memphis was limited to 33 percent shooting in the half, including missing all five of its shots from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Bulls shot 48 percent, including 6 of 13 from long range.
Memphis would end the game 2 of 13 from 3-point range.
Chicago's defense continued to cause problems for Memphis early in the third. Memphis, particularly, Gasol and Conley, continued to miss shots as the Grizzlies shooting percentage hovered around the 33 percent mark.
Only a push from Memphis' bench helped put a dent in a Bulls advantage that reached 12 points in the third. Butler's running flip from the baseline at the end of the quarter provided Chicago with a 73-66 lead entering the final period.
Bulls: Mirotic's previous season high was 24 against Portland on Nov. 21. .The Bulls are now 13-2 when holding opponents under 100. .Bulls guard Derrick Rose missed his second straight game with an illness, and Taj Gibson also sat out with a right ankle injury. .Butler's 31 followed a career-best 35 points in Thursday's win over the Knicks.
Grizzlies: Memphis entered the game undefeated against Eastern Conference teams in the 2014 calendar year. The Grizzlies had not lost a home game to an Eastern Conference team since Dec. 30, 2013 - to Chicago .Memphis never led by more than three points in the game, that coming in the first quarter. . Memphis had won 11 straight home games when playing an opponent playing the second night of a back-to-back.
Bulls: Host Toronto on Monday.
Grizzlies: Travel to Cleveland on Sunday.