In a neutral site game at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., the Chicago Bulls were able to grab a 106-87 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in their second preseason game due to an efficient second half.
For this Monday night match-up, head coach Tom Thibodeau went with a starting lineup of Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, and Nazr Mohammed again, as Joakim Noah sat out with a groin strain.
To start off the game, Chicago had trouble getting their offense together. Rose may have scored their first points of the game, but it quickly became a 9-2 game in favor of Memphis. The deficit grew from there, but soon enough, the Bulls got their offense going a bit. About halfway into the quarter, Chicago came within four points of the Grizzlies’ 22-18 lead when Kirk Hinrich dished the ball to Mike Dunleavy. The Memphis defense was drawn towards Dunleavy leaving rookie Erik Murphy open for the right-wing three.
Despite closing in on the lead, the Bulls weren’t able to gain their first lead of the game until nearly halfway through the second quarter. This came off of a free throw from Murphy, but the lead did not last long. Soon enough, the game was tied at 41, and from there on, Chicago would not lead again until the third quarter.
Fortunately for the Bulls, the third quarter was a turning point for the game. Deng assisted Boozer for a finger roll in the beginning of the period, which gave Chicago the 46-45 lead. From then on, the Bulls would continue to add on to that lead, and they never looked back.
The second half success was a result of several players’ successes. Boozer was able to get going in the third quarter. Butler used his defensive prowess and allowed it to result in offense. Rose remained aggressive for the couple of minutes he played in the second half, but Hinrich came in and provided some offense of his own by knocking down jumpers. Taj Gibson also continued to play well as he did in the preseason opener. He stayed active on the glass, getting rebounds on the defensive end and putbacks on the other end.
Memphis’s offense was nearly gone following halftime. Although they shot 43.1% for the game, the Grizzlies just never got in a good offensive rhythm, and whatever they did get on the offensive end just was not enough to match the Bulls’ efficiency. Thibodeau gave former Bulls point guard Mike James and center Dexter Pittman their first minutes of the preseason because of the large lead.
Boozer led all scorers with 16 points (7-12 FG, 2-2 FT) to go along with 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Gibson (5-9 FG, 5-7 FT) and Hinrich (4-6 FG, 2-3 3PT, 5-6 FT) each had 15 points. Jerryd Bayless had 15 points to lead Memphis.
Chicago is now 2-0 for preseason. Their next preseason game will take place on Saturday, October 12th, at 4 PM as they take on the Washington Wizards in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the HSBC Arena.