For the second straight home game, Memphis jumped out to a big lead before halftime then coasted to an easy victory. On Monday, it was a 104-90 win over the Chicago Bulls.
“We played our game, and we didn’t settle for less,” Gay said. “When we come out and want to play fast, and we don’t settle for anything else, I think we’re pretty good.”
Ben Gordon led the Bulls with 25 points, and Andres Nocioni had 16 points. Luol Deng added 13 points and Kirk Hinrich had 12 points and six assists for Chicago, which shot just 36.5 percent from the field while Memphis connected on 52 percent of its shots.
“It was nice to see a strong, passionate defensive effort,” Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. “It was good to see our defense step up. There were a lot of deflections and a lot of activity.”
The Grizzlies built a 17-point lead in the second half and maintained the double-digit advantage the rest of the way, winning for the second time in three games.
The Bulls are 0-17 in games where their opponents score 100 points.
The Bulls pulled to 82-72 with 7:20 left, but Memphis made eight of its first 10 shots in the fourth quarter to hold off Chicago, never allowing the Bulls to cut the deficit under 10 in the final period.
“We wanted to come out early and be aggressive. Really set the tempo and play our style of basketball,” Conley said. “We really had it going up and down the court, moving it around and getting them uncomfortable.”
Chicago was coming off a 97-81 win Saturday over the Detroit Pistons, the Central Division leader, and expected to be more competitive.
“We haven’t been consistent effort wise, and our record is indicative of that,” Bulls interim coach Jim Boylan said. “We can’t have just one, two or three guys giving effort. We have to have all five. Even the teams that don’t have great records are coming to play.
“Memphis just outplayed us in every area effort-wise.”
The Bulls trailed 36-35 with 3:33 left in the first half but Memphis closed out the second quarter with 12 unanswered points to go into the break with a 48-35 lead.
Miller scored 11 points, and Gay and Conley added 10 points apiece in the half.
Chicago shot 33 percent in the first half as Nocioni missed all five of his shots and Sefolosha missed five of his six shots.
Chicago made a dent the lead in the early stages of the third as Memphis committed four turnovers in the first 2 minutes, leading to a 7-0 run by the Bulls to open the half. But Chicago still couldn’t improve its shooting touch, and after the early mistakes, Memphis found its rhythm and took a 74-62 lead into the final period.
“I really think we kind of ran their legs out a little bit,” Conley said. “We’re used to getting up and down, and I think we really wore on them in the fourth quarter when it came to crunch time. They started missing some of the shots they normally make.”
The game was part of the Grizzlies’ Sixth Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. Also part of the festivities: a high school game and recognition of former NBA stars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bob Lanier for their contributions to civil and human rights. King was assassinated in 1968 on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, which is only a short distance north of the FedExForum—the Grizzlies’ home arena. Memphis is 3-3 in games played as part of the celebration. … Bulls G Chris Duhon did not make the trip because of a knee injury he sustained in Saturday’s win over Detroit. Duhon banged knees with Pistons guard Chauncey Billups. … The Bulls visited the National Civil Rights Museum on Sunday at the suggestion of Boylan. … Gay learned before the game that he will participate in the Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star weekend. …The game marked the first time four Grizzlies registered double-doubles in a game since the team moved to Memphis in 2001. The Vancouver Grizzlies had four players record double-doubles in 1999 against the Sacramento Kings. … Gordon is averaging 25.3 points in the last four games, all coming off the Bulls bench.