MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Chicago Bulls are in no position to judge victories.
Winning a smash-mouth physical game short on style points is still winning, which they haven't done much of since Derrick Rose went down and even less against Western Conference teams.
The Grizzlies aren't a typical Western Conference team, almost as offensively-challenged as the Bulls and now without Marc Gasol. But it's not like the Bulls still didn't throw away their gift receipt on their way out of the FedEx Forum on Monday night, triumphant over a Western Conference team for just the second time in 10 games.
The Bulls overcame 14 first-half turnovers and 21 overall in their 95-91 victory, their third in four games. And they displayed actual offensive firepower in stretches while doing so, paced by Jimmy Butler's season-high 26 points that featured a career-high 12 made free throws.
Carlos Boozer, whose 20.1 points-per-game average in 22 career games against the Grizzlies is his highest against any opponent, added 21 points and 10 rebounds.
"Any win on the road is a good win," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "They're a tough team, a power team."
D.J. Augustin added 10 points and nine assists, including two huge fourth-quarter 3-pointers after the Bulls coughed up all but one point of an 18-point lead. The second, from well beyond the line after he recovered from having the ball stripped, just beat the shot clock for a five-point lead with just under six minutes left.
The Grizzlies missed all five of their 3-point attempts in an active Bulls defensive effort that featured season highs of 10 blocks and 13 steals.
"It was definitely one of our better efforts for 48 minutes," Kirk Hinrich said. "We're happy with this win. But it seems like we start to feel good, we exhale and have a slip-up like Dallas. We have to guard against doing that."
The game began about as expected in a battle of the 25th- and 30th-ranked offenses. Neither team scored for 2 minutes, 21 seconds and the Bulls began 0-for-5 with three turnovers while taking 3:06 to score. In the first quarter, the Bulls had nine turnovers to seven field goals.
But Augustin jump-started the offense in the second quarter with seven assists. He repeatedly made quick decisions, including a gorgeous behind-the-back fake and eventual dish to Taj Gibson for a dunk following Augustin's steal.
"He got the ball moving," Thibodeau said. "I thought that sort of turned it around."
In the third, Butler knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers, including a deep one from out front that just beat the shot clock. Butler finished two points off his career high.
"I'm getting real comfortable," Butler said. "I sat down with a few of these vets at brunch and they told me to play my game and have fun."
Fun isn't a word that's been used often this injury-plagued season. But in their first victory against a Western Conference team since beating the Jazz at home on Nov. 8 and their first on the road, the unmistakable sound of laughter filled the postgame locker room.
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