While Derrick Rose sat for another game suffering from turf toe, Rudy Gay celebrated MLK Day by scoring 25 points and Marc Gasol and Marreese Speights scored double-doubles as the Memphis Grizzlies dominated early and often in cruising to a 102-86 win over the Chicago Bulls Monday afternoon.
Without Rose, the Bulls struggled to move the ball on the offensive end, resulting in an inability to spread the floor effectively and get good shots. Plays often broke down against the quick, long Memphis defense, leaving contested shots as the remaining option. This led to a bunch of early one and dones on offense and giving up transition baskets in the other direction and a Grizzlies halftime lead of 20 points.
Leading the way was Gay, who added five rebounds and five assists to his game-high scoring total, and point guard Mike Conley, who calmed a late Bulls rally in the second half and guided the Grizzlies back to safe victory margin waters. Conley also scored 20 points, and added eight assists and four steals.
Things were going so good for Memphis that even when Tony Allen whiffed on a wide open transition layup with no Bulls around him, Conley sprinted from behind to tip in the miss just ahead of the charging Bulls.
Gay also may have made the play of the game when isolating from the perimeter with Joakim Noah on him, he drove the right side and got the baseline, rising up and slamming home the dunk over Noah, who looked out of shape and out of sorts against the Grizzlies.
Marreesse Speights was active early, cutting to the basket for points as well as getting Memphis extra possessions by getting four offensive rebounds and generally being active on the offensive glass. Speights had 16 points and 12 rebounds for his double-double and Marc Gasol, who with Conley's help pushed back the Bulls a final time by hitting on a number of pick and pops, scored 19 points and 10 rebounds for his own double-double.
For the Bulls, Luol Deng led the team with 20 points and was generally omnipresent on every Bulls possession with Rose out. getting 39 minutes even in this one-sided affair. C.J. Watson (17 points, three assists) and Taj Gibson (16 points, five rebounds, three blocks and two steals) were the catalysts behind the 22-6 run late in the third quarter that pierced the Grizzlies lead to single digits before Gay, Conley and Gasol rallied to extend the lead for good early in the fourth quarter. It was Watson's first game back from an injury to his left elbow.
Fudge. No Rose, but CJ Watson returned. Brief run in the 4th to get deficit to 9, but Bulls trailed the whole game.
For the winner's perspective, check out Straight Outta Vancouver.