D.J. Augustin #14 of the Chicago Bulls fights his way between Mike Conley #11 (L) and Tony Allen #9 of the Memphis Grizzlies at the United Center.
Marc Gasol had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies used their stout defense to beat the Chicago Bulls 85-77 Friday night.
Mike Miller made four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points as the Grizzlies closed out a three-game road trip with their third victory in four games. Zach Randolph added 10 points and 11 rebounds after missing Memphis' previous game with the flu.
The Grizzlies shut out the Bulls after Taj Gibson's layup trimmed Memphis' lead to 81-77 with 3:15 to go. Mike Conley made two free throws and Gasol had a layup to help Memphis secure the win.
Gasol missed the Grizzlies' 95-91 loss to the Bulls in Memphis on Dec. 30 due to a sprained left knee. But the league's reigning Defensive Player of the Year made a difference in this one, going 8 for 16 from the field and helping hold Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer in check on defense.
Gibson had 18 points for Chicago, which had won 10 of 12. Playing with a sprained right thumb, Noah finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, but also had six of the Bulls' 13 turnovers.
The visit by Memphis (35-26) presented a look in the mirror for Chicago (34-28). Heading into the weekend, the Bulls were the NBA's second-best defensive team at 92.3 points per game, followed by the Grizzlies at 95.2. Memphis was averaging 95.7 points, good for 25th in the 30-team NBA, with Chicago last in the league at 93.3 per game.
The Grizzlies and Bulls even had nearly identical records coming into the night. But due to the strength of their respective conferences, the Grizzlies were ninth in the West, one game out of a playoff spot, while the Bulls were fourth in the East.
True to form, there were few open shots and the paint resembled a bumper-car ride for much of the night.
Memphis led 15-12 after one, holding Chicago to 22 percent shooting, but the Bulls started to heat up in the second quarter. D.J. Augustin scored 12 in the period and Noah had a late layup to help Chicago take a 39-35 advantage at the break.