The Chicago Bulls had to adopt the Memphis Grizzlies mentality of grind-it-out basketball. And in the end, it was Chicago who emerged victorious at FedEx Forum on Monday night, 95-91.
On a day when Tom Thibodeau laid his father, Thomas J. Thibodeau Sr., to rest, who passed away on Christmas Day, the Bulls fought hard and won the game for Thibs.
Jimmy Butler bounced back after his 2-10 shooting and seven turnover night against the Dallas Mavericks, to lead Chicago with 26 points and four rebounds. Carlos Boozer had a solid outing against his counterpart, Zach Randolph, as the power forward finished the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
It’s actually a wonder the Bulls were able to win this game considering the Grizzlies had all but one starter score in double-figures, while Kirk Hinrich (six points), Mike Dunleavy Jr. (seven points) and Joakim Noah (eight points, 10 rebounds) combined to shoot just 5-17 from the field.
Chicago did get a boost from their reserve unit, starting with point guard DJ Augustin who scored 10 points, dished out nine assists and came up with four steals, despite shooting just 2-8 from the field. Taj Gibson chipped in with nine points and rookie Tony Snell rounded out the Bulls bench production with eight points in the game.
Both teams were equal in team rebounds and turnovers, but Chicago’s real edge came at the free-throw line where they connected on 33 of their 42 attempts – compared to Memphis’ 21-28 – and from behind the three-point line where the Bulls were 6-15 and their opponent was 0-5.
Chicago will close out 2013 at home on Tuesday night with a rematch against the Toronto Raptors, who blew the Bulls out on the United Center floor, 99-77, just two weeks ago.