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 Grizzlies beat Bulls for 3rd straight victory

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PostSubject: Grizzlies beat Bulls for 3rd straight victory   Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:39 pm

MEMPHIS, Tenn.(AP) In a game featuring the
NBA's top scoring rookies, it was a couple of Memphis veterans who
carried the offensive load.Rudy Gay scored 29 points and Hakim
Warrick added 21, both matching their season highs, as the Grizzlies
won their third straight with a 103-96 victory over the Chicago Bulls
on Friday night.Warrick's 12 points in the fourth quarter kept
the Bulls at bay, snapping Chicago's two-game winning streak. The win
marked the first time the Grizzlies won three straight under Marc
Iavaroni, in his second season as their coach."I think this
whole run has been a total team effort,'' Warrick said. "It's been a
different guy stepping up at different key points of the game and
making big plays.''Memphis' O.J. Mayo came in averaging 20.8
points, while Chicago's Derrick Rose, the No. 1 pick, was scoring 18.3
per game. Both rookies were kept under those numbers, as Mayo scored 14
points and Rose finished with 12 points and a season-high 11 assists in
his return to Memphis, where he led the Tigers to last season's NCAA
championship game.Rose got a nice ovation when he was introduced, and there were a number of his old University of Memphis jerseys in the crowd."They
came out and supported me, and I love them for that,'' Rose said of the
fans. "That is one of the reasons I came here, because I saw the
support the fans had. It shows they still remember me.''Memphis
players were aware that part of the 17,132 in attendance, the largest
home crowd of the season, were there for Rose. But they tried not to
let that distract them."We knew what the people were coming for,
but we wanted to put on a show for the fans even though it was
Derrick's homecoming,'' Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said. "I thought we
did a great job of not letting that get to us. We just played
basketball.''Darko Milicic had a season-high 13 points and 11
rebounds, while Marc Gasol scored 11 for Memphis. Conley had nine
points, a career-high 10 rebounds and seven assists.Ben Gordon led the Bulls with 26 points, while Luol Deng had 19. Drew Gooden had 10 points and 10 rebounds.The
Bulls held an early 14-point lead, but a Memphis rally in the third
erased the advantage. Memphis weathered a sloppy first part of the
fourth, never relinquishing the lead despite blowing several layups.
Warrick had six straight points working the inside midway through the
final period, allowing Memphis to build a 95-85 lead with 4 minutes
left."Warrick hurt us at the end, especially in the fourth
quarter,'' Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We really couldn't get a
good match-up against their lineup.''The Grizzlies went with
Milicic and Gasol, both 7-footers, up front to try and match the
physical presence of Aaron Gray and Gooden.The Bulls hit all but
one of their seven 3-pointers in the first quarter and held a 14-point
lead. Gordon had 18 points in the stanza, but also picked up his third
foul early in the second to send him to the bench for the rest of the
half."I just locked in and focused,'' Gordon said of his first
quarter. "After the first few, I felt like I was in a good rhythm.
Unfortunately, I got into a little bit of foul trouble.''That
helped Memphis erase the Bulls' advantage by scoring the first eight
points of the period, hitting its first three shots. Conley keyed the
rally with eight of his nine points.Chicago dealt with foul problems besides Gordon, as both Gooden and his replacement, Joakim Noah, drew a couple of early ones.But
after Memphis erased the early Chicago advantage, the Bulls started
scoring again, hitting six of their next seven shots. That helped
Chicago carry a 54-52 lead into the dressing room at the half, the
Bulls connecting on 54 percent from the field, including 7-of-11 from
outside the arc.Mayo made consecutive baskets to build the lead
to 73-68. That was part of a 15-4 run that increased the Memphis margin
to 81-70, its biggest lead of the game, and the Grizzlies carried an
83-74 lead into the final period."It's starting to come into
place,'' Gay said of the Grizzlies recent performance. "Got a couple
under our belt, got some confidence. Hopefully, it'll boil over.''Notes:
Rose has been announced in pregame introductions as being from Chicago.
However, Friday night, he was introduced as being out of the
"University of Memphis; former Tiger.'' None of Rose's former teammates
or Tigers coach John Calipari was able to attend the game. They are in
Washington, where they play Georgetown on Saturday. Before the game,
Mayo was given the award for Western Conference rookie of the month for
November. Rose won the award for the Eastern Conference. ... The last
time Memphis won three straight was at the end of the 2006-07 season.
The Bulls and Grizzlies split the season series, the fourth straight
season that has happened. Gordon's 18 points in the first quarter were
the most points by a Memphis opponent in a period this season. Rose's
double-double was his third of the season, while Gooden had his sixth,
including the last three games. Mayo continued his streak of
double-figure games, having reached the plateau in all 23 games this
season.

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