Bill Smith/Chicago Bulls

Backcourt leads Bulls to win over Grizzlies 98-85

Bulls improve to 15-8 on the season

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By Sam Smith | 12.16.2015 | 9:45 p.m.

That’s the backcourt the Bulls have been hoping to see.

With Jimmy Butler scoring 24 points and Derrick Rose adding 19 points and five assists, the Bulls pulled away to start the second half and defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 98-85.

The Bulls moved to 15-8 on the season while the Grizzlies fell to 14-13.

Doug McDermott added four three pointers and had 17 points while Pau Gasol outdueled his brother, Marc, with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Courtney Lee had 18 points for Memphis. The Bulls also had a 14-7 lead in second chance points with aggressive defense and forced 17 turnovers.

The Bulls starters got off to a startling fast start behind Rose, who had 10 points and several driving scores that drew gasps from the crowd after crossovers or reverses. It was a comeback from being ill and taking just three shots against Philadelphia Monday. Rose aggressiveness helped propel the Bulls to a 30-28 first quarter lead as the Bulls shot 70 percent. Rose and Butler were a combined nine for 12 while Kirk Hinrich added five points in a backcourt bonanza. This time it was the reserves with a slow start to the second quarter as the Bulls never can quite seem to balance both groups.

The Bulls missed their first four shots with a turnover as the Grizzlies tied the game. But the Bulls got the ball moving and finding the three pointer as McDermott, Nikola Mirotic and Butler all made threes for a 46-37 Bulls lead midway through the second quarter. The Grizzlies called time and came back with 10 straight points as the Bulls committed three consecutive turnovers with a pair of long jump shots missed. The Bulls would go nine straight possessions without scoring as the Grizzlies moved ahead 53-50 at halftime. After that 70 percent shooting first quarter, the Bulls shot six of 22 in the second quarter with six turnovers.

The Bulls got their pace going again in the third quarter. Rose started it with a driving bank shot, then hit Pau Gasol rolling to the basket for a three point play. Rose and Butler then forced turnovers and each ran out for fast break scores in an 11-0 run and overall 19-6 as the Bulls went into the fourth quarter with a 74-66 lead. The Bulls forced nine third quarter turnovers that led to 14 points while Memphis shot 29 percent in the quarter. The Bulls second group opened the fourth quarter with several aggressive defensive possessions, forcing turnovers as McDermott added a pair of threes for an 84-76 Bulls lead with about five minutes remaining.