Chicago 111, Memphis 66

CHICAGO, Jan. 13 2007 (AP) -- The Chicago Bulls built a lead that was impossible to blow.

Ben Gordon scored 24 points and Luol Deng added 18 as the Bulls beat the Memphis Grizzlies 111-66 on Saturday night.

The Bulls had their easiest victory of the season despite missing starters Andres Nocioni and Ben Wallace. Nocioni was suspended for one game by the NBA for elbowing New Jersey's center Mikki Moore on Thursday and Wallace missed the game with a sore back.

Kirk Hinrich added 20 points and eight assists for Chicago, which won for just the second time in seven games. The Bulls had blown four double-digit leads during their recent slump, including an 18-point third-quarter advantage against New Jersey on Thursday, but a 40-point lead after the third quarter was more than enough.

"The focus was there for 48 minutes tonight. Everybody was in the game and did a good job,'' Hinrich said. "It was the kind of team effort that we need. We need to string a few together and build on this win as a standard of how we have to play.''

The Bulls took control early against the Grizzlies, who own the worst record in the league and were coming off a loss to the Timberwolves on Friday. Chicago outscored Memphis 13-3 to close the first quarter, turning a six-point lead into a 37-21 advantage. Deng had consecutive dunks during the span.

Pau Gasol had 16 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis, playing 41 minutes despite the lopsided score. Chucky Atkins added 14 points.

"We don't know what the heck we are doing to be honest with you. A lot of guys are lost. We need to get ourselves together and play as a team,'' Gasol said. "We were careless. We didn't have the urge or spirit of competing. That's the most frustrating thing.''

Chicago continued to pour it on, outscoring the Grizzlies 12-0 midway through the second quarter. Thabo Sefolosha's basket gave Chicago a 57-27 lead with 4:21 left in the quarter, and Gordon's breakaway dunk later in the period made it 71-34.

Gordon scored 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the half and Deng added 14 points, helping Chicago take a 71-38 halftime lead.

Michael Sweetney gave Chicago a 105-59 bulge, its largest of the game, midway through the fourth quarter. Hinrich, Gordon, and Deng sat the entire fourth quarter.

With Nocioni and Wallace absent, Gordon made a rare start and scored nine points in the first quarter. Gordon was a starter earlier in the season, but became the Bulls' sixth man after getting off to a slow start.

"Any time you have somebody out, guys focus and everyone has to step up and fill the void,'' Hinrich said.

Notes: The Bulls also played without reserve forward Malik Allen because of a strained left calf. ... Wallace is listed day-to-day. ... Memphis suffered its worst margin of defeat of the season. The biggest margin of defeat in Grizzlies history was a 49-point loss at San Antonio on Nov. 8, 1995.


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