The Chicago Bulls extended their winning streak to four games when they defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 98-85 on Wednesday night.
Derrick Rose got the Bulls going early on my playing a very aggressive game. He looked like Rose of old, the one who drove to the hole often and didn’t settle for outside shots. He even scored eight of the Bulls’ first 10 points.
Despite Rose’s takeover, the Grizzlies managed to keep up. The score was tied three times during the first quarter. The Bulls were always ahead when the game wasn’t tied, but it was only by a small margin and short-lived. That changed when the Bulls’ bench came in, though.
By the time Kirk Hinrich, Doug McDermott and Joakim Noah had all checked into the game during the first quarter, the Bulls held a slim 20-18 lead. After that, the Bulls finished the quarter with 10 points: a three-point play from Jimmy Butler, a driving layup from Noah and five points from Hinrich.
The Bulls then opened the second quarter with a full bench lineup of Aaron Brooks, Hinrich, McDermott, Mirotic and Noah. That lineup got Chicago an eight-point lead with some efficient 3-point shooting. That lead was extended to nine points when the starting backcourt returned to the lineup: Butler buried a three at the 5:50 mark of the second period for a 46-37 Bulls lead.
After that, however, Chicago fell into a drought.
The Bulls wouldn’t score again in the second until the 0:56 mark, when Butler scored off a driving layup. By that time, the Grizzlies not only caught up to the Bulls, but they also took the lead, allowing them to be up 53-50 at halftime.
The third quarter fared similar to the first quarter in that it was close to start and Rose played aggressively. The difference this time around, though, was that the Bulls were getting the job done on both ends of the court — Chicago held Memphis to just 13 points in the third quarter.
From there, the Bulls never trailed again and managed to hold on to their commanding lead with no troubles. In fact, the Bulls maintained the defensive mentality that got them the lead and held the Grizzlies to 19 points in the last quarter.
As usual, Butler led Chicago with 24 points, but it was the play of Rose and McDermott that stood out in Wednesday night’s win. Rose, as aforementioned, played aggressively and efficiently, finishing the game with 19 points (9-19 FG, 0-3 3PT, 1-3 FT), two rebounds, five assists and one steal. McDermott led the bench with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting with 4-of-8 on threes.
The Bulls are now 15-8 and will play again on Friday night for a 7 p.m. home game against the Detroit Pistons.