8:00 PM ET, January 1, 2012
United Center, Chicago, IL
Carlos Boozer leads Bulls' destruction of Grizzlies in home opener
CHICAGO -- Carlos Boozer isn't interested in winning over his critics. He's interested in something else.
"To win," he said.
The Chicago Bulls figure to do plenty of that, particularly if he keeps playing like this.
Boozer scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and the Bulls coasted in their home opener, pounding the Memphis Grizzlies 104-64 on Sunday night.
The game was so lopsided that fans started calling for backup Brian Scalabrine in the third quarter, with the outcome clearly in hand. It was, easily, the most dominant performance of the young season for a team with soaring expectations.
With their eyes on a championship, Bulls took three of four out West, beating Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in the opener and capping the trip with a victory over the Clippers. This time, they dismantled the Grizzlies.
"It's a major step back," Memphis' Rudy Gay said. "This is the NBA. The game definitely shouldn't have gotten out of hand like that. We're all professional athletes. We need to come up with a better showing than that."
Boozer led the way with 15 points and 11 rebounds as Chicago built a 54-28 halftime lead, scoring down low and hitting mid-range jumpers as if they were breakaway layups. He had 11 points during a 13-3 second-quarter run that bumped Chicago's lead to 48-27. Not a bad home debut for a guy who heard his share of boos there last season, particularly down the stretch.
"I'm not even worried about it, honestly," said Boozer, who missed the first month a year ago because of a broken right hand after signing with Chicago and was limited by a turf toe injury in the postseason. "I don't know which story you guys are trying to write, but I'm going to tell you this -- we're just worried about getting better every day."
At 4-1, the Bulls are off to their best start since the 1996-97 team won its first 12, and they won this one easily even though Luol Deng (11 points) had a quiet night and the ball wasn't falling for Rose early on.
He missed his first five shots and was 4 of 10, but he was aggressive from the start and helped set up his teammates. That's why coach Tom Thibodeau his statistics didn't really reflect his performance.
"He gives you whatever the team needs," Thibodeau said. "He got us off to a really good start -- defense, pushing the ball up the floor. When you push the ball like that, it gets everyone moving."
The only downer for Chicago was Hamilton getting scratched from the lineup and C.J. Watson leaving with a sprained left elbow injury in the fourth quarter after a scramble for a loose ball with Josh Selby near midcourt. He had his arm in a sling afterward and was scheduled for an MRI on Monday.
Hamilton, who tweaked his groin against the Clippers, is day to day.
Those injuries aside, it was a good night for the Bulls. They outrebounded the Grizzlies 55-40, outshot them 46.4 percent to 31 percent and outscored them 33-13 on the break.
It was simply a brutal night for Memphis, which got just five points from Gay. Zach Randolph bruised his right knee and scored only two points in 11 minutes.
Josh Davis and Sam Young were the only Grizzlies to score in double figures, with 10 points apiece. Jeremy Pargo, who grew up near Rose on Chicago's South Side, hit just 2 of 13 shots and finished with four points filling in for Mike Conley, who missed his second game with a sprained left ankle.
"It was embarrassing and humiliating," coach Lionel Hollins said.
Conley participated in the morning shootaround and did some pregame work. He said the ankle is improving, but he remains day to day. "I'm going to try to get some more rest for it and get it stronger with a couple of extra days of rehab before I get back on the court." ... Pargo, who is two years older than Rose, deflected questions about their matchup before the game, saying, "I'm excited to play with my teammates and do our best to get a win."
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||26-84 (.310)||39-84 (.464)|
|3PM-3PA||1-9 (.111)||5-13 (.385)|
|FTM-FTA||11-14 (.786)||21-29 (.724)|
|Fast Break Points||13||33|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||18 (0/0)||15 (0/0)|
Next 5 Games
Memphis' 64 points Sunday are the 2nd-fewest scored in a single game in franchise history.[+]
Fewest Pts in Single Game - Grizzlies History
ESPN Stats & Information