CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Bulls built a lead that was
impossible to blow.
The Bulls had their easiest victory of the season despite
missing starters Andres Nocioni and Ben Wallace. Nocioni was
suspended for one game by the NBA for elbowing New Jersey's center
Mikki Moore on Thursday and Wallace missed the game with a sore
Kirk Hinrich added 20 points and eight assists for Chicago,
which won for just the second time in seven games. The Bulls had
blown four double-digit leads during their recent slump, including
an 18-point third-quarter advantage against New Jersey on Thursday,
but a 40-point lead after the third quarter was more than enough.
"The focus was there for 48 minutes tonight. Everybody was in
the game and did a good job," Hinrich said. "It was the kind of
team effort that we need. We need to string a few together and
build on this win as a standard of how we have to play."
The Bulls took control early against the Grizzlies, who own the
worst record in the league and were coming off a loss to the
Timberwolves on Friday. Chicago outscored Memphis 13-3 to close the
first quarter, turning a six-point lead into a 37-21 advantage.
Deng had consecutive dunks during the span.
"We don't know what the heck we are doing to be honest with
you. A lot of guys are lost. We need to get ourselves together and
play as a team," Gasol said. "We were careless. We didn't have
the urge or spirit of competing. That's the most frustrating
Chicago continued to pour it on, outscoring the Grizzlies 12-0
midway through the second quarter. Thabo Sefolosha's basket gave
Chicago a 57-27 lead with 4:21 left in the quarter, and Gordon's
breakaway dunk later in the period made it 71-34.
Gordon scored 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the half and Deng
added 14 points, helping Chicago take a 71-38 halftime lead.
Michael Sweetney gave Chicago a 105-59 bulge, its largest of the
game, midway through the fourth quarter. Hinrich, Gordon, and Deng
sat the entire fourth quarter.
With Nocioni and Wallace absent, Gordon made a rare start and
scored nine points in the first quarter. Gordon was a starter
earlier in the season, but became the Bulls' sixth man after
getting off to a slow start.
"Any time you have somebody out, guys focus and everyone has to
step up and fill the void," Hinrich said.
The Bulls also played without reserve forward Malik Allen
because of a strained left calf. ... Wallace is listed day-to-day.
... Memphis suffered its worst margin of defeat of the season. The
biggest margin of defeat in Grizzlies history was a 49-point loss
at San Antonio on Nov. 8, 1995.