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Butler scores 26 as Bulls beat Grizzlies

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST
Caption
(AP photo)
The Bulls' Joakim Noah (right) defends against Memphis Grizzlies' Zach Randolph (50) in the first half Monday in Memphis, Tenn.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Jimmy Butler scored 14 of his 26 points in the third quarter, Carlos Boozer added 21 points and 10 rebounds, and the Bulls defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 95-91, on Monday night.

Butler shot 6 for 10 from the field, including 2 of 3 on 3-pointers, and 12 of 14 at the foul line in a team-high 41 minutes. The Bulls were 6 for 15 from 3-point range.

D.J. Augustin had 10 points off the bench for the Bulls, including eight in the fourth period as Memphis tried to make a late run.

Mike Conley finished with 26 points, nine assists, six rebounds and six steals to lead the Grizzlies. James Johnson scored 13 points, all in the second half, and grabbed 10 rebounds before fouling out with 4:10 left.

Tony Allen also had 13 points and Kosta Koufos finished with 12. Zach Randolph added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bulls won despite playing again without leading scorer Luol Deng, who missed his fifth straight game with a sore left Achilles.

Conley took over late in the third and led the Grizzlies as Memphis chipped away at the Bulls' biggest lead of the night at 18. Memphis pulled to 72-71 in the fourth and 78-76 later, both after scores by Johnson.

Augustin nailed a long 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with about 6 minutes left to answer Johnson's second score.

Augustin's basket started a 10-2 run, capped by Kirk Hinrich's 3-pointer with 3:33 left, that pushed the Bulls' lead back to 10.

That was enough for the Bulls to earn their fourth victory in the last 12 games.

The Bulls held a 46-44 lead at halftime after Tayshaun Prince fouled Mike Dunleavy on a desperation shot in the final second of the second quarter. Dunleavy converted all three free throws.

Boozer had 12 points to lead the Bulls. Koufos had 10 for the Grizzlies, hitting all five of his shots in the half.

The first half was a sloppy affair filled with turnovers and mediocre shooting. Chicago had 14 miscues to 12 for Memphis. The teams were a combined 1 for 7 from 3-point range.

Memphis led by eight early in the second, but that was erased by a 16-5 Bulls rally.

The Bulls' defense began causing real problems for the Grizzlies in the third as the Bulls opened the second half with a 20-4 run, fueled by a handful of Memphis turnovers and the Grizzlies missing 11 of their first 13 shots.

The Bulls opened a 66-48 lead, but Memphis answered with Conley's eight points in a 16-5 burst to close the period, leaving the Bulls with a 71-64 advantage entering the fourth.

Notes: Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau missed the morning shootaround to attend his father's funeral in Connecticut. The elder Thibodeau died on Christmas Day, according to published reports. "Our family, once I saw they were good, I felt good about (coaching)," Thibodeau said before the game. ... Bulls G Derrick Rose, who played one season at the University of Memphis, missed the game with his right knee injury. Rose has returned only twice to Memphis to play against the Grizzlies in his NBA career. ... Conley's 26 points were the most he has had since scoring 28 against Minnesota on Dec. 15 – the last game before he missed two straight with a left thigh bruise. ... Memphis F Jon Leuer did not return after halftime because of back spasms.

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