for this game

Gordon helps Bulls crush Grizzlies, end three-game slide

Jan 14, 2007 - 5:33 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Ben Gordon took advantage of a rare appearance in the starting lineup.

Gordon scored 24 points to lead five players in double figures as the Chicago Bulls cruised to a 111-66 triumph over the Memphis Grizzlies that snapped a three-game slide.

Kirk Hinrich had 20 points and eight assists and Luol Deng scored 18 points for the Bulls, who won easily despite the absence of Ben Wallace and Andres Nocioni.

Wallace sat out with a sore back and Nocioni served a one-game suspension for elbowing New Jersey's Mikki Moore on Thursday.

"We played with a sense of purpose," Gordon said. "Sometimes when you are shorthanded, each guy stays better focused on what he has to do. I could tell early on we weren't going to give back the lead tonight like we have in the past."

Gordon started the first six games of the season before bringing his scoring power off the bench. He is averaging 22.5 points as a reserve.

"I just tried to be aggressive and not try to think about whether I was starting or not," said Gordon, who had six assists. "I decided I was going to focus on getting the job done, and my teammates did a nice job of doing that as well."

Chicago closed the first quarter with an aggressive 13-3 burst to grab a 37-21 lead. Gordon, Deng and Mike Sweetney combined for all the points during the run.

"We talked about playing with more intensity for longer periods of time and we did that," Hinrich said. "Overall, we took care of business against a team that has struggled."

In the second period, the Bulls extended the lead to 59-27 on Deng's basket with 3:19 remaining that capped a 12-0 surge. Chicago outscored Memphis, 34-17, in the quarter.

"They just came out, made their shot's and got the lead," Memphis forward Pau Gasol said. "They just kept hitting shots, and we started hanging our heads from the first quarter on."

Sweetney had season highs of 13 points and 11 rebounds for Chicago, which scored a season-high 69 first-half points and posted its largest margin of victory since a 42-point thrashing of Miami on opening night.

"Obviously, we were very good," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "I thought we had a lot of energy and our defense was outstanding. We moved the ball well, we shot the ball well, we did what we had to in order to win the game."

Gasol collected 16 points and 13 rebounds and Chucky Atkins scored 14 points off the bench for the Grizzlies, who shot just 30 percent (21-of-69) from the floor.

"It was a mercy killing," Memphis interim coach Tony Barone said. "I have to congratulate the Bulls, they made us play very poorly. We really struggled with the physical level of the game."

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