January 19, 2013
Memphis Grizzlies Status Check:
Road Record: 10-8
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Streak: Won 1
Last game: 85-69 win over Kings
PPG: 93.4 (26th)
Opponents PPG: 89.8 (2nd)
Offensive Rating: 104.0 (16th)
Defensive Rating: 99.9 (2nd)
Pace: 89.1 (28th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .463 (26th)
Turnover Percentage: .139 (16th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .736 (12th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .319 (2nd)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .207 (13th)
Opp. eFG%: .477 (8th)
Opp. TO%: .156 (2nd)
Opp. FT/FGA: .202 (15th)
Leading scorer: Rudy Gay (17.6)
Stats from Basketball-Reference
Grizzlies Injury Report:
Quincy Pondexter: out (sprained knee)
Zach Randolph: missed Friday’s game (strained lower back)
The Bulls and Grizzlies square off in what is sure to be a high-scoring affair, just like the last time they met. And by high-scoring, I mean a lot of points for a high school game. One of the teams will probably hit 80 points.
It doesn’t help the Bulls offensive chances that they are tired from last night’s overtime win and that Luol Deng will probably be on the sidelines because he reinjured a hamstring injury against the Celtics.
In two surprising moments, Kirk Hinrich hit a shot that sent the game into overtime, and Marco Belinelli hit the game-winner with three seconds left in the extra period. These two made baskets were only surprising because of the fact that Hinrich actually made a jumper and Belinelli didn’t get the ball stripped before getting the shot up, not the timing and importance of the baskets (OK fine, they were both clutch).
It’ll probably be Kirk and Marco that get remembered after the game as the heroes, but the one guy who is already being forgotten is Jimmy Butler. His stats don’t blow you away (13 points, 4 rebounds), but he filled in after Deng left with his injury and hit some big shots. He was also the only guy hitting foul shots down the stretch (4-4).
Carlos Boozer (19 points, 20 rebounds) and Joakim Noah (14 points, 13 rebounds) both chipped in double-doubles and Rip Hamilton scored 20 points in some extended minutes.
For all that good, there were some glaring issues. Rajon Rondo killed the Bulls in transition, when Chicago failed to stop the ball on multiple occasions. Rondo finished with 30 points, the second time he recorded a season-high in points against the Bulls this season.
Memphis is right in the middle of the league when it comes to fastbreak points—averaging 13.2 per contest—and they have their own point guard that could cause some havoc in Mike Conley. The Bulls can’t allow the point guard, or any ball handler, to drive straight to the rim on a fastbreak. They need to cut the ball of and force a pass.
Boston scored 14 fastbreak points, only one more than their average, but it was the ease that many of them came that was the problem. The parting of the seas occurred a few times and even though Rondo isn’t seen as much of a scorer, he can finish around the rim just like any NBA player (with the exception of Ronnie Brewer). Failing to cut off the ball handler is a simple rule in transition defense.
The half-court defense was great with the exception of slowing Rondo. Kevin Garnett (5-16) and Paul Pierce (5-17) both struggled to score, and finished with 16 and 13 points respectively.
What kept the Celtics in the game was that the Bulls had 21 turnovers against a Boston team that normally forces 15.7. However, the Celtics couldn’t convert off Chicago’s mishaps, scoring just seven points off of the giveaways. The Bulls scored 16 points off 12 Boston turnovers.
Memphis is also coming off of a Friday night win; theirs was a little more convincing though. The Grizzlies allowed just 69 points to Sacramento, who shot 34.1 percent from the field and had 17 turnovers.
The absence of Zach Randolph was no problem for the Griz last night, but their starters did have to log heavy minutes. Rudy Gay (41 minutes) logged Luol Deng-type minutes. Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Tony Allen all played 37 minutes.
Noah led the Bulls with 45 minutes played, with Boozer close behind (43).
The Bulls are 4-4 on the second night of back-to-backs, while Memphis is 3-4. Chicago will probably be without Deng, but Randolph is going to give it a go for the Griz. Randolph scored 10 points on 4-14 shooting December 17 against the Bulls. He also grabbed a game-high 15 boards.
Deng struggled, as did most guys on offense, finishing 4-17 from the field for eleven points. Both teams shot 37 percent as Conley (17 points) and Boozer (16) led the way. Memphis is second in both defensive rating and opponent points per game and the Bulls are fifth (defensive rating) and third (opponent points) in those categories. Both squads’ middle-of-the-road offenses, especially the Bulls without Deng, are going to struggle to find the basket.
July 2, 2010
If you were hoping the Bulls would have secured at least one big name free agent during the first day of this year’s free agent bonanza, you must be pretty disappointed.
One bit of very good news is that the Bulls won’t be tempted to overpay for Joe Johnson in a “Plan B, C, or D” scenario. The Hawks have made sure of that: ”The Atlanta Hawks have offered free agent Joe Johnson a maximum six-year contract worth $119 million, and sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard that Johnson is all but sure to accept.”
I give it, oh, about a year before the Hawks start bitterly regretting that move. Maybe less. Okay, probably less.
Meanwhile, a five-year, $80 million deal will apparently keep Rudy Gay in Memphis. Another terrible deal in which an overrated player will be criminally overpaid…as perfectly explained by Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie.
But better Gay is overpaid by the Grizzlies than the Bulls, right?
In other “making it rain” news, Amir Johnson is getting $34 million from the Toronto Raptors, Channing Frye is getting $30 million from the Phoenix Suns, and Darko Milicic is getting $20 million from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
That wasn’t a typo: $20 million for Darko Milicic. It’s like a free agent feeding frenzy out there.
As for the Bulls…
Meeting with Dwyane Wade? Check.
Meeting with Carlos Boozer? Also check.
Meeting with Chris Bosh? It’s happening today. (In addition to a meeting with David Lee, for what it’s worth.)
Meeting with LeBron James? It’s supposed to happen on Saturday…and LeBron expects to make his decision by Monday.
Meeting with Amar’e Stoudemire? It’s going to happen on Tuesday — if necessary — according to a tweet from Phoenix radio host John Gambadoro.
The big namers are doing what they have to do: They aren’t showing their hands. There’s no indication whatsoever what LeBron, D-Wade or Bosh are going to do. Ditto for Boozer and Stoudemire (although their names aren’t quite as big as the first three). They say no news is good news. But no news is making a lot of Chicago fans nervous.
Why the nerves? Maybe that’s best explained by a rant from By The Horns reader AK Dave (although he made this comment on Basketbawful):
But jeez, I mean, the Bulls have had some excuse or another every year ever since MJ left.
“The team is rebuilding in the wake of Jordan leaving- give them a few years!”
“The team is young but Kirk/Deng/Nocioni are going to be All-Stars – give them a little time!”
“The team is injured – wait till next year!”
“The team is adjusting to its newly acquired free agents and hasn’t fully integrated them yet – but wait until next year!”
“The coach sucks and players aren’t living up to expectations and the injury bug has bitten and the GM has punched the coach in the face and everyone is playing out-of-position and the Cavs have LeBron… but JUST WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR!!”
I’m just saying. I am a Bulls fan, but the excuses are getting old. And these are issues that EVERY team in the NBA deals with on some level. But its been 12 years since MJ left, and its really time for the Bulls to put up or shut up.
It’s true. Bulls fans have been “waiting until next year” ever since Jordan entered his second retirement. That mantra may be chicken soup for the Cubs fan’s soul, but the souls of Bulls fans everywhere is starting to starve out.
Which is making this wait really difficult.
March 5, 2010
Zach Randolph manhandled Taj Gibson and the Bulls.
Okay. I was wrong.
I predicted that — with Joakim Noah out — the Memphis frontcourt of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay might finish with at least 70 points and 35 rebounds, thereby exceeding their combined season average of 55.7 PPG and 27.0 RPG.
Well, those three players ended up with only 60 points and 30 rebounds to go along with 6 steals and 5 blocked shots, while shooting 22-for-42 from the field and 15-for-18 at the foul line. To put that into perspective, Chicago’s entire starting lineup combined for 78 points and 23 rebounds, and the Bulls earned 21 free throw attempts as a team.
More painful numbers: The Grizzlies outrebounded the Bulls 46-31, outscored them 62-42 in the paint and finished +9 in free throw attempts. To put things in a more science-y way, Memphis had decided advantages in Effective Field Goal Percentage, Offensive Rebound Percentage and Free Throw Rate…as illustrated by this Four Factors chart from Statsheet.com:
The fact is, the Grizzlies’ big men wore the Bulls down, especially Zach Randolph. Derrick Rose posterized Randolph with a wicked dunk in the third quarter, but Z-Bo had the last laugh, finishing with game highs in points (31), rebounds (18) and free throws (7-for-8).
Of the dunk, Randolph said: “It got me on ESPN. … [Rose] got me good.” Well, you more than returned the favor, Zach.
Chicago started the game on fire, winning the first quarter 32-19 and going up by as many as 17 points in the second. But teams with an strong inside game and an opposing frontcourt tend to win the battle of attrition in the NBA, which might explain why Memphis is tied for the most comeback victories from a deficit of 15 points or more this season.
The Grizzlies outscored the Bulls 29-16 in the final quarter, and the most telling stretch occurred after Memphis had tied the game at 90 on a foul shot by Randolph. The Grizzlies then got two three-point plays — a layup and one — from Gasol on back-to-back possessions to go up 95-90. Gasol missed the free throw on his second three-point play opportunity, but Gay ended up with the offensive rebound, and then O.J. Mayo swooped in for a layup.
Just like that, the Grizzlies were up 97-90 and the game was essentially over.
While Memphis was getting high percentage shots at the basket — the Griz finished with 23 layups — the Bulls were settling for long jumpers, or forced jumpers, or having layups blocked.
Said Rose: ”It hurts. We worked so hard, then the ball bounces their way. We were right there and they made some great plays, effort plays, and they got the ball.”
Added coach Vinny Del Negro: “We have to get bodies on people and be more physical. You have to control the tempo of the game and get more baskets. Everyone has to be more physical and get more loose balls.”
Yeah, well, it’s hard to do that when your best defender and interior defender is sitting out due to plantar fasciitis. Now maybe people will start to understand why Charles Barkley thought Joakim should have been an All-Star. His absence is slowly killing the Bulls. And they have seven more consecutive games against potential playoff teams, including division leaders Dallas (twice), Orlando and Cleveland.
Said Luol Deng: “It’s not time to panic. We’ve got 21 games left. We’ve got to play with a lot more energy than this, especially in the second half.”
I’m all for the Bulls playing with more energy, but that’s not going to make them grow any taller or add any bulk. Brad Miller is a savvy veteran, but he’s old, slow and much more suited to a backup role at this stage of his career. And Taj Gibson has been fantastic for a first year player, but he’s still a rookie, and he got used like an old dish rag by Randolph before fouling out.
Chicago needs Noah back. Desperately. But that’s not going to happe for a while. This next 8-10 games could get ugly, folks. So, with all due respect to Deng…
…it might be time for a little panic.
1st timeout: Rose missed 19-footer
2nd timeout: Warrick was fouled before the timeout
3rd timeout: Deng had a 19-footer blocked by Gay
4th timeout: Randolph was fouled before the timeout
5th timeout: Murray turnover (Gay steals)
6th timeout: Deng drew a foul (2-for-2)
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