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Morant broke Mike Miller‘s previous record (45 points) set in 2007. The third-year guard set the overall record for points in the playoffs last season, when he scored 47 points in a Game 2 loss to the Utah Jazz.
Against Chicago, the Grizzlies hung on after letting a 17-point lead shrink to one to come away with the win after losing two in a row. They also stopped Chicago’s six-game winning streak.
Morant surpassed his previous regular-season career-high of 44 points. He scored 20 points in the third quarter and made 15 of 28 shots.
That gave DeRozan 10 straight 30-point games, the longest such streak by a Bulls player since Michael Jordan did it in 10 straight from Dec. 25, 1990, to Jan. 14, 1991. But he was 10 of 29 from the field, ending his NBA-record run of eight games of scoring at least 35 while shooting 50% or better.
Zach LaVine scored 28 points in his second game back after missing the final three prior to the All-Star break because of his ailing left knee.
Memphis led by 17 in the third, with Morant going off in the quarter. He made 7 of 14 shots, including two 3s and a soaring alley-oop dunk near the end of the period.
It was a 16-point game early in the fourth when the Bulls reeled off a 14-0 run, with DeRozan hitting two free throws to cut it to 101-99 with 4:38 remaining.
Chicago’s Coby White cut it to 106-105 when he nailed a 3 with about 2:30 remaining. Morant then hit two free throws before DeRozan drove for a layup.
Desmond Bane hit a 3 to bump the lead to 111-107. The Bulls’ Nikola Vucevic made a foul shot, and Bane and Morant missed jumpers before LaVine hit two free throws to cut it to 111-110 with 25.5 seconds remaining.
Tyus Jones then hit a pair for Memphis to make it a three-point game. DeRozan argued a no-call after he missed in the lane and picked up his second technical after getting one earlier in the game, earning an ejection.
Morant, who got fouled by LaVine in the scramble, then made the technical free throw and two more foul shots to bump the lead to 116-110 with 5.3 seconds remaining.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.