Deng, Hamilton lead Bulls over Grizzlies in exhibition tilt
Chicago, IL, United States (4E Sports) – Luol Deng scored 18 points and veteran Richard Hamilton added 13 points as the Chicago Bulls weathered a fourth-quarter comeback by the Memphis Grizzlies en route to a 92-88 win in a preseason showdown Tuesday at United Center.
High-leaping guard Nate Robinson contributed 13 points off the bench, backup center Nazr Mohammed scored 13 points and grabbed 12 boards while Joakim Noah had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Bulls (1-0).
Center Jerome Jordan carried the fight for Memphis (1-1), scoring all of his 13 points in the fourth quarter to cut the Bulls’ 14-point lead to 89-88 with 21 seconds left.
The Bulls padded their lead to three after Robinson’s two foul shots and watched Wayne Ellington and Tony Wroten missed potential game-tying three-pointers for the Grizzlies.
Taj Gibson, fouled by Ellington after grabbing a rebound, sealed Chicago’s win with a charity shot.
The Bulls played without star playmaker Derrick Rose, who is still working his way back from knee surgery. Rose led the team in scoring last year, averaging 21.4 points and 7.9 assists in 39 games.
Ronald Murray added 11 points for the Grizzlies, whose starters failed to score in double digit. Zach Randolph tallied just eight and Rudy Gay added four points, far from his 27-point output in an exhibition game against Real Madrid.
Despite poor performances from starters, the Grizzlies grabbed a 52-49 halftime lead but it was quickly erased when the Bulls opened the third period with a 14-0 run sparked by Hamilton, Deng and Noah.
The Bulls clinched their biggest lead at 81-65 after a three-pointer by Robinson with 22 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Grizzlies began the final period with an 8-0 run to trim the Bulls’ lead to 81-73. Chicago answered with seven straight points from a three-pointer by Robinson and four foul shots by Gibson and Marco Belinelli.
Jordan then scored six of the Grizzlies last 10 points to close in at 89-88. Robinson gave the Bulls a much comfortable margin with two foul shots before Gibson closed out the win with a split from the foul line.