Miller Scores 27, Grizzlies Beat Bulls
Memphis 95, Chicago 77
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 23 (Ticker) -- Mike Miller got off to a strong start and the Memphis Grizzlies followed suit.
Miller scored a season-high 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Pau Gasol added 19 and 11 as the Grizzlies won for third time in four outings with a 95-77 triumph over the slumping Chicago Bulls.
"We keep ourselves in every game with defense," Miller said. "As long as we do that and knock down our shots, we'll have a chance to win a lot of games."
Starting for the fifth time this season, the 25-year-old Miller made 8-of-15 shots, including a career high-tying six from the arc. He scored nine points in the opening quarter and the Grizzlies never trailed.
"There were a lot of open shots," Miller said. "(Memphis forward Pau Gasol) did a good job of finding me and I made some shots. That's how it works sometimes."
"He was awesome," Grizzlies forward Shane Battier said. "We had some guys down (with injuries) and he got extended minutes. Anytime you give him that many open shots, he's going to shoot a high percentage like he did."
After scoring nine points in the first quarter, Miller began the second period with four and Lorenzen Wright made consecutive baskets in a 15-3 run that gave the Grizzlies a 43-26 lead.
Battier opened the second half with three free throws and a 3-pointer and Gasol made a short jumper in a 12-4 spurt that rebuilt the lead to 57-40.
After Chicago's Andres Nocioni made four consecutive free throws to cut the deficit to 83-74 with 5:47 remaining, Miller and Damon Stoudamire each hit 3-pointers to highlight a closing 12-3 run.
"We lost (Miller) a lot," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "He had a hot hand and we just weren't cognizant of where he was on the floor."
Battier scored 13 points and Wright added 10 for the Grizzlies, who held the Bulls to 36 percent (26-of-73) shooting.
Andres Nocioni scored 14 points, Darius Songaila added 11 and Luol Deng 10 for Chicago, which had just 13 points in the second quarter and 18 in the final period. The Bulls have lost eight of their last 12 games.
"There were no easy baskets tonight," said Bulls guard Ben Gordon, who scored just five points on 2-of-6 shooting. "We had good looks. We just didn't make them. Tonight, we couldn't buy a bucket."
"We're definitely in a danger zone," Bulls guard Chris Duhon said. "We have some tough games ahead. We have to keep working on the little things and be competitive."