Grizzlies-Bulls Preview

Memphis Grizzlies Status Check:
Record: 40-32
Division: 5-8
Conference: 24-19
Road Record: 15-22
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Streak: Won 3
Last game: Beat Boston 90-87
PPG: 99.9 (13th)
Opponents PPG: 98.1 (14th)
Offensive Rating: 107.2 (15th)
Defensive Rating: 105.3 (10th)
Pace: 92.1 (15th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .490 (21st)
Turnover Percentage: .129 (8th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .728 (20th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .285 (6th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .219 (21st)
Opp. eFG%: .504 (19th)
Opp. TO%: .162 (1st)
Opp. FT/FGA: .232 (16th)
Leading scorer: Zach Randolph (20.0)

Stats from

Grizzlies Injury Report:
Rudy Gay: to undergo left shoulder surgery (will miss the remainder of the season)
Xavier Henry: sprained right knee (is expected to miss at least one month)
Jason Williams: sore lower back (is out indefinitely)

The Bulls have dominated their last two opponents winning by a combined score of 73 points; with Deng being the only starter to play in the fourth quarter of either game. It must be in Lu’s contract that he has to play more than 30 minutes every game… or, maybe he made fun of Thibodeau’s voice and Thibs is seeking revenge. Who knows why, but let’s hope he’s fresh for the playoffs.

Both of those last two games, against the Kings and Hawks, were “revenge” games for the Bulls. Chicago, especially Rose, remembered past games and embarrassments, and wanted to crush the other team. So if Rose is motivated by past games and failures, how can we find things for him to be upset about against every team? Would he fall for me making up stories?

Rose is 2-2 in his career versus the Griz. In 2008, the Bulls lost to Memphis 103-96. Rose only scored 12 points on 6-14 shooting and he had three turnovers. Will that work as motivation?

But seriously, the Grizzlies really helped Chicago out on Wednesday by beating the Celtics. Now it’s Chicago’s turn to help themselves.

Chicago stayed hot on their back-to-back games, and they have won ten of their last eleven. They now hold a one game lead over Boston, with 12 games left for both teams.

Memphis is in eighth place in the Western Conference, two games up on Houston for that last spot. So the Grizzlies really have something to fight for. And some might expect the Bulls to have a minor let down after their two dominating performances; but not if you’ve watched this team all year. Thibs and the team will not let that happen, they know how important every game is.

“Playing for that one seed every game means so much,” Kyle Korver said. “We’re going to be right there with Boston. One bad loss or a couple of wins means everything.”

Losing at home is something the Bulls are unfamiliar with. Chicago has won 13 in a row at home, last losing at the United Center in January. This home win streak is approaching the 17-home-win-streak in MJ’s last season with Chicago. Anytime you’re approaching Michael, it’s a good thing.

Earlier in the year, Chicago beat the Grizzlies on the road, without Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer (Taj Gibson recorded a game high +/- of +16 in Booz’s absence). And this was also when the Grizzlies had Rudy Gay (he is now out for the season), who is second on the team in points, assists, and blocks and third in rebounds and steals per game.

However, the Grizzlies won the last game between the two teams in Chicago 105-96. Zach Randolph had 31 points and 18 rebounds.

Chicago’s bigs better be up for this one, as they can expect more of the same from the Grizzlies. Memphis is first in points in the paint per game at 50.8. They are 5.4 points better in that category than the second place Clippers. Chicago’s inside defense has been tough all year, allowing 36.3 points in the paint per contest. That puts them in third, right behind Orlando (36.0) and Boston (36.1).

Holding on to the ball will go a long way for the Bulls as well. The Grizzlies lead the league in steals, with 9.4 and are fourth in fast break points (16.7). In March, D-Rose is averaging 3.0 turnovers per game, his lowest monthly total of the season.

About the Author:
Braedan Ritter was born and raised in Pennsylvania but was swayed by gifts from his aunt to follow the Chicago sports teams. It didn’t hurt that the Bulls had a guy named Michael Jordan playing for them, and the Sixers had…Derrick Coleman. Braedan has stuck with Chicago through thick and thin, and really thin (see: Chicago Cubs). And speaking of Coleman, Braedan is currently a student at Syracuse University.

2 Responses to Grizzlies-Bulls Preview

  1. cliniclysick March 26, 2011 at 3:35 am #

    2 games up. Thanks MJ!

    inkybreath March 26, 2011 at 6:48 am #

    Kind of a sick trip by Tony Allen (“Sweep the leg”)…

    Check: Allen added to the shit-list.

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