CHICAGO -- Rookie Derrick Rose had his best game, scoring 26 points, and Kirk Hinrich added 18 to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 96-86 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.
The Bulls struggled at times in their halfcourt set but came away with the win after losing by 16 at defending champion Boston the previous night.
They trailed Memphis by eight at halftime but pulled it out thanks to Rose.
The Chicago native and No. 1 draft pick scored 10 points in the second quarter to keep the Bulls close enough and kept it going in the second half. He scored four points during a 9-1 run midway through the fourth quarter that increased Chicago's lead to 90-81, and Chicago hung on from there.
Hinrich was 5-of-7 on 3-pointers. Drew Gooden
grabbed 20 rebounds.
The Grizzlies had a chance to go above .500 for the first time since 2005-06, when they won 49 games, but came up short despite solid performances by Rudy Gay
, Hakim Warrick
and O.J. Mayo
Gay scored 20 after pouring in 29 and hitting the winning 18-footer against Orlando on Friday. Warrick added 18 points and seven rebounds, while Mayo, the No. 3 pick, scored 16.
The Grizzlies were within 81-79 when Chicago's Ben Gordon
hit two free throws with 7:16 left to start the clinching spurt. Darko Milicic
answered with a free throw, but a dunk by Rose sent the Bulls on their way.
Gooden hit a baseline jumper at the shot-clock buzzer to make it a seven-point game, and Warrick got called for a technical a minute later after Andres Nocioni
pushed him while going up for a jumper after the shot clock expired. Hinrich hit the free throw, and Rose converted two more after a flagrant foul by Kyle Lowry
, making it 90-80 with 4:15 remaining.
Rose came up big after a slow first quarter. He scored six points over the final three minutes of the opening half, keeping the Bulls within 50-42, and he started the third quarter with consecutive baskets before Thabo Sefolosha
scored on a layup to make it a two-point game.
Mayo then hit a 3-pointer for Memphis after a timeout, but the Bulls scored the next 10, with Sefolosha feeding Rose on the break for a layup and the rookie returning the favor following a block by Tyrus Thomas
that made it 58-55. And Chicago finished the quarter with another flourish, scoring the final six points to take a 75-70 lead after Memphis went ahead.
Milicic's hook shot to start the fourth and Mayo's jumper made it a one-point game, and it remained tight until that clinching spurt.
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