JIMMY Butler overcame a sluggish start to come through in the clutch, hitting the go-ahead basket to preserve Doug McDermott’s career game and help the depleted Chicago Bulls beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 108-104, at the FedEx Forum on Sunday (Monday, Manila time).
After struggling with 2-of-8 shooting in the first three quarters, Butler took charge in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 of his 16 points in the period, including the go-ahead jumper with 26 seconds left to put Chicago up 106-104. Mike Conley missed a three on the next play and Doug McDermott notched a new career high with a pair of free throws to seal the win for the undermanned Bulls without Dwyane Wade and Nikola Mirotic.
It was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams from the get go, as Memphis built its largest lead at seven early in the first before Chicago countered with a 23-8 run to lead by as much as eight in the second quarter, 48-40. Memphis momentarily took the lead late in the third before Chicago brought a slim 78-77 edge into the fourth.
Butler started taking over midway through the fourth to give Chicago a 99-94 lead with three minutes remaining. But the Grizzlies fought back to tie the game late with a 10-5 run, capped by Mike Conley’s jumper with 38 ticks left to put the game at 104-all.
McDermott had 31 points, his new career-best mark, off the bench for Chicago, who improved to 21-21 after winning its second straight game. Taj Gibson added 18 markers, while Michael Carter-Williams and Robin Lopez chipped in 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Conley led Memphis (25-18) with 28 points, while Marc Gasol had a double-double of 24 markers and 11 rebounds. Zach Randolph also came up with 15 points and 16 boards off the bench.