Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/15

Game 1: Wednesday, December 15th
Bulls96Final
Grizzlies88
Game 2: Monday, March 28th
Grizzlies86Final
Bulls94

Bulls 96

(5-15, 2-8 away)

Grizzlies 88

(9-15, 6-7 home)

    Coverage: CSNC

    7:00 PM ET, December 15, 2004

    FedExForum, Memphis, TN

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHI 23 21 27 2596
    MEM 27 21 22 1888

    Top Performers

    Chicago: K. Hinrich 15 Pts, 5 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl

    Memphis: P. Gasol 24 Pts, 2 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    16-4 fourth-quarter run propels Chicago

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Chicago Bulls are finally seeing some results from their hard work.

    Eddy Curry had 20 points, while Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon each added 15 Wednesday night to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 96-88 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

    "We played great defense and with a lot of heart," Curry said. "All the hard work is starting to transfer over into wins. I think the biggest thing is our guys came in with a team job on defense. The defense is the key."

    Chicago won for the just the second time on the road this season, while Memphis lost its second straight in an uninspired performance at home.

    "We did not convert. We missed dunks, and we had careless turnovers," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "It was definitely agony to watch. I don't think this team is in any way representing this franchise."

    Pau Gasol scored 24 points, but had only one rebound until getting his second with 16 seconds remaining. The two rebounds were a season-low for Gasol.

    The Bulls used a 16-4 burst in the fourth to take the lead, thanks partially to five Grizzlies' turnovers.

    By the end of the stretch, the Bulls were up 87-76, and Memphis got no closer than seven the rest of the way.

    The Bulls didn't commit a turnover in the final quarter and Gordon helped hold off the Grizzlies with 11 points.

    "We certainly had one of our better efforts in the second half," Hinrich said. "Sometimes we come out in the third quarter and have a lapse, but we played strong the whole half."

    Hinrich added six assists, while Tyson Chandler had 10 rebounds for the Bulls.

    Mike Miller added 12 for Memphis, while James Posey, Jason Williams and Bonzi Wells each had 10.

    Memphis led 48-44 at the break, but the lead could have been larger. The Bulls had 11 first-half turnovers, including eight in the second period.

    Memphis was ahead 46-33 after a dunk by Posey with 3:30 left in the half before Chicago used an 11-2 run to close the second period, capped by Eric Piatkowski's 3-pointer at the buzzer.

    The Bulls tied it a couple of times in the third quarter and consecutive 3-pointers by Hinrich in the closing minutes helped the Bulls take a 71-70 lead into the fourth.

    "I definitely noticed that they didn't really have that same bounce and that same fire that they had at the beginning of the game," Curry said of the Grizzlies.

    Memphis players said the lack of intensity in the final quarter is a sign that they still have work to do if they are going to start winning consistently.

    "Bottom line is we're not executing," Miller said. "We're the players. We've got to play. (Fratello) can put in the best offense in the world, but until we go out and execute, and play like we're capable of playing, we're not going to win games."

    Game notes


    Bulls coach Scott Skiles took an early exit after back-to-back technicals in the second quarter. Skiles argued with official Leroy Richardson about a call and didn't stop after the first technical. Assistant coach Jim Boylan took over for Skiles. ... Grizzlies F Shane Battier did not dress because of a sprained ankle sustained Monday night against Cleveland. Battier is listed day-to-day. ... Memphis activated Williams prior to the game and put G Antonio Burks on the injured list. Burks suffered a broken right pinkie finger against Cleveland and had surgery Wednesday. He's expected to miss 6-8 weeks. ... Miller entered the game as one of the league's top 3-point shooters at 48 percent, but was 2-of-7 from long range.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    CHI
    MEM
    Points 96 88
    FGM-FGA 35-75 (.467) 31-70 (.443)
    3PM-3PA 9-17 (.529) 7-21 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 17-20 (.850) 19-23 (.826)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-36 6-30
    Assists 24 21
    Turnovers 15 18
    Steals 9 8
    Blocks 5 5
    Fast Break Points 9 11
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (2/1) 18 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 11 13

    Top Performers

    Chicago
    Memphis
    Kirk Hinrich Hinrich
    Points: 15
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Pau Gasol Gasol
    Points: 24
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 2