Bulls nearly undone after blowing 18-poing advantage

CHICAGO (AP) -- By the time the Memphis Grizzlies figured how to
stop Eddy Curry, it was too late. The Chicago Bulls had built a
huge lead and hung on Monday night for their sixth straight win.

"Unfortunately the damage was done," said Grizzlies forward
Shane Battier.

Curry made his first five shots in the second half and helped
Chicago's lead reach 18 before the Bulls withstood a fourth-quarter
rally for a 94-86 victory.

"They were making a run and we had to do something to stop it.
Otherwise it was going to be a sad day," Curry said after scoring
25 points, just two in the final quarter on a pair of free throws.

Ben Gordon added 17 points for the Bulls, while Tyson Chandler
had 14 rebounds and scored 13 points, including a pair of free
throws with 12.4 seconds left to help the Bulls seal the win.

Bonzi Wells scored 22 of his season-high 30 points in the second
half, including 11 to spark a 21-5 Memphis run in the fourth

"I got in a zone a little bit and coach kept calling my number
and that hasn't happened in a while," Wells said. "I wanted to
come in and spark some kind of a run for us, and no matter what I
did it was not enough."

Battier played tough defense against Curry, limiting him to one
shot in the fourth quarter, but the Grizzlies could never pull

Memphis trailed 81-63 but then took off and twice got within two
-- the last time at 88-86 on Mike Miller's jumper with 2:31 to go.

But in the stretch, Wells missed three shots and Miller two as
Chicago emerged with a victory that put it a season-high seven
games over .500.

The Bulls are chasing Washington for the fourth playoff spot in
the East.

"We keep playing this way and we can go pretty high, pretty
far. But we can't have lapses like we had (tonight) when we gave up
that lead," Curry said.

The Bulls also won for the fourth time in a row without floor
leader Kirk Hinrich, forced to sit again with a sore hamstring.

"We know we can't make as many mistakes as we could when Kirk
was out there. He gets everybody in the right rotation and without
him, it's that much tougher," said Curry.

"I'm just trying to do my part to help us win games with Kirk
out. He's the guy who runs the show for us and when we don't have
him out there, things can get a little haywire."

Curry put on a clinic to start the third quarter, making his
first five shots to score Chicago's first 10 points, including
eight in a row. He had three jump hooks, a dunk and then a
left-handed layin as the Bulls went on a 14-5 run to increase their
nine-point halftime lead to 65-47.

But he didn't hit another field goal and didn't score again
until hitting two free throws with 2:48 to give the Bulls a
four-point lead. He finished 10-for-19 from the field.

"We tried to make him work more for his touches," Battier

"What can you say about a guy like that? He's a monster,"
Wells said.

Chandler converted a three-point play early in the fourth
quarter after officials conferred and changed an offensive foul
against him to a blocking foul on Brian Cardinal. That gave the
Bulls a 15-point lead, one that went back to 18 when Jannero Pargo
hit a 3-pointer moments later.

The Grizzlies then got consecutive 3-pointers from Wells, Earl
Watson and Miller during a 12-2 run that cut it to 83-75 with 6:36

Wells made two from the line and then a 3-pointer as Memphis got
within five with 4:11 to go. Watson's free throw cut it to 86-82
with 3:45 left and then Miller sailed in for a layup knocking it to

Chicago took a 51-42 halftime lead with a late 9-2 run that
included two driving baskets by Andres Nocioni and Pargo's
3-pointer with 36 seconds left.

Game notes
Memphis forward James Posey didn't travel with the team
after suffering a right hip contusion and right shoulder sprain in
the Grizzlies' previous game, a loss to New Orleans on Saturday..
.. Chicago rookie F Luol Deng sprained his right wrist in the first
half. X-rays were negative but he did not play in the second half.
... Pau Gasol, who just came off the injured list eight days ago,
scored eight points in 15 minutes and did not have a rebound for
the first time this season.