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VOL. 131 | NO. 69 | Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Grizzlies End 6-Game Skid With Home Win Over Bulls

By Don Wade

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If it had been a football game, you could have called it the Desperation Bowl. The Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies each badly needed a victory.

Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph scored 27 points to lead the team to a 108-92 win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, April 5, at FedExForum. The victory ended the Grizzlies’ season-high six-game losing streak.

(AP Foto/Brandon Dill)

Behind 27 points and 10 rebounds from power forward Zach Randolph, the Grizzlies got one and snapped their six-game losing streak by defeating the Bulls 108-92 Tuesday, April 5, at FedExForum.

“We’ve been searching,” Randolph said. “The guys came out and played great tonight. Vince (Carter) had a great game, Jordan (Farmar), X (Xavier Munford), JaMychal (Green), Tony Allen. If we come out and play like that every game, we give ourselves a chance to win.”

Bulls rookie forward Bobby Portis (12 points, 7 rebounds) perhaps helped the cause by mixing things up with Randolph.

“I would leave that dog alone early in games,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said. “(Randolph) got into it with young fella and he got very engaged in the game.”

Which was something the Bulls were not.

They committed 20 turnovers which became 38 Memphis points.

“They just played like they wanted to get to the playoffs,” Chicago point guard Derrick Rose said of the Grizzlies.

Rose was part of the problem, too. He went just 5-for-15 from the floor and finished with 12 points, eight assists and five turnovers.

Asked where the Bulls (39-39) go from here, Rose said: “I really don’t know. We gotta figure it out one way or another. It’s going to be a long night.”

While the Grizzlies (42-36) saw their magic number for clinching a playoff berth fall to two with four games left to play and their hold on the 5 seed in the Western Conference grow to a full game over Portland, the Bulls remained two games behind Detroit for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

“It was very disappointing to throw away an opportunity like this tonight, especially with Detroit losing (Tuesday),” Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said.

The Grizzlies led 54-44 at halftime and pushed their advantage to 22 points in the third quarter. The Bulls got the lead down to 11 in the fourth quarter, but never drew closer.

Guard Jimmy Butler didn't score until there was 4:29 left in the game when he made a driving layup. He finished 2-for-8 with five points.

“We know he’s prolific,” said Allen, who besides hindering Butler, scored six points with nine rebounds and made four steals. “I just tried to limit his touches. I just locked in.”

Said Butler: “I didn’t make shots, I didn’t get guys involved, I didn’t guard anybody. I’ve just got to go out there and do my job. That’s my fault, to this organization, to my teammates.”

Carter scored 17 points with five rebounds, four assists and two steals off the Grizzlies’ bench. Matt Barnes finished with 16 points and seven rebounds and played 41 minutes.

Munford scored eight points and hit both 3-pointers he took, but Joerger was impressed by his defense on Bulls reserve point guard Aaron Brooks, who finished with just three points on 1-for-4 shooting from deep with four assists but three turnovers.

“X played great defense on a guy who has scored 30 in this league many times,” Joerger said.

The Grizzlies are the 10th team in NBA history to have at least 24 players log minutes in a single season. None of the previous nine made the playoffs. The 28 players used by the Grizzlies this season is an NBA record.

Making the playoffs, Farmar said, would be an achievement.

“We broke through mentally tonight,” he said. “The energy was positive throughout the whole game. We’re trying to push, we’re trying to fight – one, to get in, and two, for seeding. We still believe.”

NOTES: Guard Lance Stephenson did not play a single minute against the Bulls. Joerger said that was not in his pre-game plan. “That was an in-game decision,” Joerger said. “I thought Tony was playing well and I thought Vince got into a nice rhythm. We had matchups that were favorable to us.” Asked how Stephenson handled not playing, Joerger said: “I thought he was a total pro.” … Grizzlies G/F P.J. Hairston missed his 11th consecutive game with a left groin strain, but Joerger was optimistic he would play this Friday at Dallas. … Bulls center/forward Pau Gasol is still the Grizzlies’ all-time leader in points (8,966) and blocks (877). He also was the franchise’s first All-Star in 2006. He finished Tuesday’s game with a double-double (17 points and 10 rebounds, plus four blocks). The Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol, out for the rest of the season after foot surgery, was watching from a suite Tuesday. “I told him we need him in the house every night,” Randolph said. “We're working for him and he’s rooting us on.”

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