|Chicago Bulls' Ronnie Brewer (11) celebrates with Derrick Rose (1) during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Chicago on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)|
Boozer leads Bulls past Grizzlies 104-64
Derrick Rose finished with 16 points after a slow start. Ronnie Brewer scored 17 with Richard Hamilton a late scratch because of a groin injury. But with Boozer dominating, the Bulls simply put this one away early.
This 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.
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.
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 Rose shot just 4 of 10 and Luol Deng finished with 11 points.
The only downer for Chicago was Hamilton getting scratched from the lineup and C.J. Watson leaving with a left elbow injury in the fourth quarter after a scramble for a loose ball with Josh Selby near midcourt.
They outrebounded the Grizzlies 55-40 and outshot them 46.4 percent to 31 percent.
It was simply a brutal night for Memphis, which got just five points from Rudy 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, hit just 2 of 13 shots and finished with four points filling in for Mike Conley.
Notes: 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." ... The Bulls honored the late Maggie Daley with a moment of silence and video tribute before the game. The wife of former mayor Richard M. Daley, she died in November after a lengthy fight with breast cancer.