Memphis invades the Second City for Bulls' home opener
Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls will break in the New Year with their home opener against the talented Memphis Grizzlies.
The Bulls finished a season-opening four-game road trip on a positive note in LA on Friday when Rose, the league's reigning MVP, got the better of Chris Paul again as Chicago topped the Clippers, 114-101, at Staples Center.
Rose had 29 points, 16 assists and eight rebounds in helping the Bulls win three times on their trek and improve to 3-1 for the first time since 1997-98.
Luol Deng and Joakim Noah each contributed 19 points and eight rebounds, as Chicago pulled away in the final quarter to spoil the home opener for the Clippers. Richard Hamilton provided 16 points.
Paul and Rose have squared off against each other five times in their career, with Rose and the Bulls owning a 5-0 record. The previous four games were when Paul was with the Hornets.
"I just had to get a rhythm going and it's coming back to me," Rose said. "I just wanted to win. We attacked and passed the ball. We made great hustle plays. Everybody is hitting the shots they're supposed to hit. I think we're a way-better offensive team than last season."
That kind of talk has to make Bulls fans feel good since Chicago finished last season an NBA-best 62-20 before flaming out against Miami in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Grizz, meanwhile, are coming off their first win of the season on Friday, a 113-93 triumph over Houston. Zach Randolph finished with 23 points and nine rebounds in that one.
Marc Gasol added 20 points and eight boards for the Grizzlies, who opened their season with a loss at San Antonio before suffering a 98-95 defeat against Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
The Grizzlies won Friday by making 56 percent of their shots -- though not one of them was a three-pointer. Defense also played a big part in Memphis' win.
"We were consistent, we were focused, we were talking," said Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins. "That's the best defense I've seen Zach play since he's been here."
Chicago and Memphis have alternated home-and-home sweeps over the past two seasons with the Bulls taking both of the contests in 2010-11. Rose, meanwhile, recorded his only career triple-double during a 96-84 win in Memphis last January.