Grizzlies-Bulls Preview

Memphis Grizzlies Status Check:
Record: 5-6
Division: 2-1
Conference: 4-5
Home Record: 4-2
Streak: Won 2
Last game: 108-99 win over New Orleans
PPG: 92.8 (21st)
Opponents PPG: 94.4 (12th)
Offensive Rating: 99.8 (24th)
Defensive Rating: 101.5 (10th)
Pace: 93.0 (8th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .460 (20th)
Turnover Percentage: .136 (9th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .719 (22nd)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .271 (11th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .206 (19th)
Opp. eFG%: .478 (14th)
Opp. TO%:  .162 (7th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .238 (22nd)
Leading scorer: Rudy Gay (17.8)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Grizzlies Injury Report:

Monday will be the second time Chicago plays Memphis in half a month, and the second year in a row the two teams faced off on Martin Luther King Day. The New Year’s Day game was one to forget for the Grizzlies. Chicago won 104-64, one of the worst losses Memphis has suffered—since Elvis of course. Brian Scalabrine played six minutes in that game. That should tell you a little about how the outing went if you couldn’t tell from the score.

Let’s go through a few of the stats. Memphis shot 31 percent from the field. This is something the Bulls have been doing all season (the Bulls are second in opponent effective field goal percentage). Two of Chicago’s last three opponents, Toronto and Washington, shot lower than 35 percent.

The most shots made by a Memphis starter was two—done by three different players. Those two made field goals came on six shots, 12 shots and 13 shots. The three starters that played more than 20 minutes recorded plus-minuses of -36, -36 and -38. (Zach Randolph only played eleven minutes before going down with an injury. He’s expected to be out six to eight weeks.)

Chicago outrebounded the Griz by 15, had eleven more assists and eight more blocks.

What I’m trying to say is that the Grizzlies got dominated by Chicago in every way imaginable. The Bulls may have even taken their lunch money and given them wedgies.

But Monday’s game is a new chance. First of all Memphis is playing at home, finishing up a four game home stand. The Grizzlies will have starting point guard Mike Conley for this matchup, instead of Jeremy Pargo starting. Memphis won their last two times out going into Monday’s game, wins over the Knicks and Hornets.

Against the Hornets, Rudy Gay scored 23 points on 9-23 shooting, Marc Gasol scored 20 points and grabbed eleven rebounds. Conley scored 17 points, had 7 assists and recorded a game-best plus-minus of +23.

Another change may be the pace. The Bulls had 33 fast break points in that first matchup. But that was when the Bulls were running a lot. In the last three games combined the Bulls have had only 20 fast break points.

Chicago may get back-up point guard C.J. Watson back though, who was injured in the last Memphis game. Watson is averaging 6.2 points, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals this year in five games. This would mean the end of John “28 Attempts” Lucas getting to shoot in professional basketball games. I’m alright with the end of that.

And the Grizzlies’ two game win streak is cute, but Chicago is currently on a five game run of their own. The Bulls have been doing it Tom Thibodeau’s way—with defense. Three of Chicago’s last five opponents have scored 68 points or fewer (granted those teams were the Raptors, Wizards and Pistons, but still). Boston couldn’t get to 80 against Chicago. The Timberwolves got to 100, but they have Ricky Rubio, so that’s understandable; and the Bulls were playing on the road. The Bulls are allowing 66.8(!) points at home, but are giving up 93.2 away from the United Center.

The last time Chicago faced Memphis on Martin Luther King Day, one year ago, Derrick Rose recorded his only career triple-double, with 22 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. Rose only shot 35 percent in that game (7-20), but got to the line nine times to help his poor shooting night. Bulls fans could surely go for another MLK Day triple-double from the reigning MVP.

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