Bulls vs Grizzlies 7pm on CSN

The Chicago Bulls face the Rudy Gay-less Grizzlies at the UC tonight.   The Grizzlies are a quality team with plenty of front court depth and are fighting for their playoff lives.   They just knocked off Boston in Boston, and despite my recent claims that this isn't quite the feat it seems like, they should not be taken lightly.

As we all know, the Bulls have dominated on their home court, so I expect them to perform well, but they'll need to come into this game focused.   They're coming off of a day of rest and a practice where Deng, Gibson, and Watson rested, so hopefully they haven't lost any edge.

Keys to the game

Control the glass

The Grizzlies are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the NBA, so the Bulls need to remain focused on the defensive glass.  However, the Grizzlies are actually on the low end of the rebounding spectrum defensively, so Noah and company can attack them for second chance points.

The Bulls are the better rebounding team overall, and as long as they control the glass, only a great shooting night by the Grizzlies or epicly bad one for the Bulls would turn the game against Chicago.

Team defense

Memphis spreads the love all over the floor when it comes to scoring.   They lack a dominant focal point to score for them when they need it, but they also lack a dominant focal point to attack on defense.

The Bulls need to remain disciplined against their offense, because it can come from anyone on the floor.   The Grizzlies lack three point shooters though, so the Bulls can afford to stay a step closer to the paint, ready to help on Gasol or Randolph in the low post.

Exploit Randolph's lack of mobility with some pick and roll

Throw Rose and Boozer into a pick and roll situation, and it's a recipe for disaster for the Memphis defense.  Randolph has to be one of the most ill equipped PFs in the NBA to hedge a screen against Rose, so the Bulls can run this play into to the ground to free him up.

Final thoughts

The Grizzlies beat the Celtics to givith, let's make sure they don't beat us to taketh away.   I'm confident the Bulls can knock them out in this game given that they're the better team and playing at home where they've been dominant.   That said, the Grizzlies are a quality opponent with a lot on the line, so we can't take them lightly.

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  • MEMPHIS VICTORY = BULLS TIEBREAKER WITH LAKERS

    Tonight

  • In reply to Edward:

    Great Job in calling the NBA Home office..That's a true fan.
    That said, honestly I don't think HCA matters so much to the Bulls if they play the Lakers. I think if the Bulls have gone through 3 EC opponents, then that young legs will have so much more energy/momentum compared to the older legs of the Lakers/Spurs...that I dare say they will win in 6 games.

    I do think though they need the HCA against Miami, Boston and Orlando....so they need to win this game. Limiting Randolph is the key.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    But the Lakers with a healthy Andrew Bynum scare me. They know how to win!

    Plus just for old time

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Key to the game: avoiding turnovers. Memphis' defense is dependent on forcing them, so if we can control the ball we should be able to get a win.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Bulls not playing too well to start off, not good.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Watching on my computer via the directv streaming app. It's so far lagged that I'm watching with massive delay, kind of kills the timely in game updates.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Bulls not playing with a lot o fenergy right now, lazy passes, not much hustle, bad vibe. Time for some bench guys.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Memphis's defense is pretty impressive in how they swarm. Bulls need to use some misdirection to hurt them as they over-commit

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Bulls go with Kurt Thomas instead of Omer. Think they want Thomas's toughness against Randolph to soften him up a bit.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    wow, kind of a BS timeout call there, Mayo never clearly had possession of the ball without Gibson's hand on it.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Rough quarter, but the Bulls end it down by only one, could have been much worse.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Bench does a great job of picking things up again for the Bulls Taj Gibson making a big impact.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Thanks for doing the research and sharing it with us man! So we just have to win 2 of the 3 remaining games against the west own the tiebreaker!!

    So Memphis, Minnesota and Phoenix!! 2 are home games one is in Minnesota but I have a feeling that will be similar to the ATL game and Love might be out for the rest of the season

  • In reply to Edward:

    Memphis are the best NBA team for scoring in the paint. If we take that away then we win. Their outside shooting is sooooo poor.
    Good thing we are soooooo good at preventing in the paint scoring by the other team.

  • In reply to Edward:

    wow. calling the home office is stepping up your game bigtime. you are inspiring me to do something. not sure what. hope you saved the number on speed dial. never know when we might need it again. i can smell the playoffs.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Swirski tells us the Kyle Korver is not the passer that Magic Johnson or Isiah Thomas was...

    Thanks, Chuck.

  • In reply to bucketball:

    I think Kyle is an underrated passer, but yeah, pretty big understatement, not that many guys are.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Gotta love the energy from the bench.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Great end to the half, just when it looked like it could get out of hand they take back the lead. Luo-D with two huge threes, been balling in the first half.

  • In reply to Edward:

    The officiating in the first half was uneven to say the least. Joey Crawford is killing us. I hope that shot at the end of the half is enough to get D-Rose going. So far only Deng, Asik and Gibson look like they're keyed in.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Thibs needs to change that Boozer on Marc Gasol matchup. Boozer's getting killed and its not his fault, he can't win that matchup.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Boozer fouling his way to taking a seat, probably for the best tonight.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Yes, Boozer couldn't guard either Gasol or Randolph. Those dudes have too much strength inside.

  • In reply to Edward:

    neither boston nor miami has two bigs that can score and trouble boozer like this.

  • In reply to Edward:

    The Bulls three point shooting really holding them in this game.

  • In reply to Edward:

    After hitting everything last game Rose can't throw the ball in the ocean tonight.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Rose definitely having a rough game.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Griz defense doing a great job of blitzing Rose, probably a good part of the reason the Bulls are scoring threes is the over commitment.

    Rose probably has 5-6 hockey assists tonight.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    when, esp. with all the advanced stats today, are they finally going to keep track of pass to assist stats?

  • In reply to Edward:

    The most important stat to watch now is how early Boozer gets his second foul in the first half and 4rth foul in the second half.

    the early the better for the Bulls so we can get his lazy piece of shit ass out of the game.

    The guy is turning into a scrub right before our eyes. He should be playing with the second unit but they probably don;t want him crapping up their defenseive stats.

    Boozer has to have the worst +/- on the team, along with Bogans, I wouldn't be surprised if his is negative for the year.

    Boozer is the new Ben Gordon, he single handedly destroys the entire concept of the Bulls team defense.

    Can't we just trade him for Marcus Thornton.

    By the way, as I asked in the offseason, can anybody tell me why we signed Bogans instead of Tony Allen, and that was when he looked like the least offensively talented guy in the NBA, now he seems to have found a game.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Boozer hurts the team defense, but the Bulls really play better in teh game as a whole when he's available. It allows Rose to rest some to have someone else iso some possessions effectively and provide a real pick and roll threat.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    But tonight Memphis keyed on Boozer. Whomever Booz was guarding they went to them and Boozer got burned. Booz can't/won't guard Gasol or Randolph.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Not many teams have 2 big guys down low to do that though.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I haven't seen a game yet where the other team didn't go at Boozer even when crossmatched against the weaker offensive player.

    Charlotte goes after him with either Diau or Kwame Brown, how much worse than that does it get.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Bulls over committing way too much on perimeter players which is causing all the openings down low. Bulls need to crowd the paint a bit more and not run out quite so hard on the three point shooters given how mediocre they are.

  • In reply to Edward:

    At least Boston managed to lose again ... Heat won though ... looks like the Heat are going to be the real competition indeed.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I know, I'm almost cheering for Boston to win now so that they can get home court over the Heat in the 2nd round, not likely now.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    The game tomorrow in Milwaukee worries me a little.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Yes, the Bulls energy was a little low against Memphis and road-back-to-backs are difficult for our Bulls, but Milwaukee is also B2B.

    Along with Monday

  • In reply to Edward:

    this game tonight was so physical though

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    and the Bucks fighting for their playoff lives, just like the Grizz were

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I DVR'd the game, and honestly I thought it was just going to be ugly/somewhat of a chore to watch. But Memphis was playing very well with a lot of momentum coming in from beating Boston. And Luol Dennnggg just made so many big shots and plays. Likewise Boozer, Noah, and Derrick down the stretch. Lu has turned into an all game player. No more second half dissapearing acts. He is a true leader on this team. Great ending by D-Rose. Powerful hang time finish No.23 uhm I mean No.1. And Joey Crawford is one self important crusty old f-ck. I wish he'd f-ing retire already everybody is sick of his "I'm bigger then the game" Tim Duncan stare down bullshit. Joakim should have just bitch slapped that bald old f-ck.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    Crawford sure seems like he had a agenda out there against the Bulls, glad they overcame it. Hope they dont get him for any playoff series.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    I second the Lu praise. He was huge. And his transformation this year has really been a pleasure to watch unfold. I think of him as clutch now.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    The fact that Rose struggled helps IMO, he will come out extra fired up as he usually does after a bad performance. Lets hope so at least.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Boston lost again tonight against Charlotte. Come on BULLS!!! Win this and claim the #1 seed!!!

  • In reply to Edward:

    There are just some god awful lazy turnovers tonight, including a couple by Rose that might come back to haunt us.

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    To their credit, Memphis is one of the best in the NBA at forcing turnovers, it's not just the Bulls passing, Memphis is fast on the perimeter and makes teams look lazier than they are.

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    If not for the offensive rebounding the Bulls would be down double digits. Just owning the boards.

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    Crawford under orders tonight?

  • In reply to bucketball:

    I would like to see the Bulls record in Joey Crawford games.

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    what a dirt bag foul

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    Too big. Too strong. Too fast. Too good.

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    Bulls going to win, Knicks lost, Celtics lost ... if only the 76ers could have held on against Miami it would have been a perfect day.

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    In spite of being in their homes, does anyone else catch themselves heckling tony allen?

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    I was hoping Rose would try the bounce a pass off his face move.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Meanwhile it seems like the Celtics miss him

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    I found myself summoning depths of venom normally reserved for players named Rondo and Garnett.

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    Was Tony Allen the teammate Mayo got into a fight with on the plane? If so ... understandable. The guy is a douche.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Just like you did with Gordon, you underestimate Boozers negative impact on the entire teams D.

    Boozer doesn't just hurt it, he kills it.

    Noah does not seem nearly as productive(in any phase of the game) with Boozer on the court, because he has to guard both big men, his and Boozers.

    Boozers offense has been useless for months at this point we are better off with Korver for Bogans and anybody(Taj, Kurt, Omer) for Boozer.

    Maybe Boozer can guard other scrubs(doubt it)but since they are scrubs maybe they can't take advantage of him as much.

    At least Thibs got the bum out for the last 2 minutes.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Honestly, when was the last time that Boozer finished a pick and roll with Rose, I can't remember it, he can't get the ball over the rim once in the lane. He is strictly pick and pop, another fade away jump shooter, just what we need.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Memphis is a tough, grimy, defensive team. They are well-coached.
    Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins has a ring from his Portland days with Bill Walton. He knows basketball and how to play. They are a worthy opponent!

  • In reply to BigWay:

    got the job done against a good team. i'll take it. go bulls.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Tony Allen is a headcase - which he has illustrated convincingly in this game. I'm pretty sure his jawing in the first half is what ignited the run the Bulls made to tighten it up.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Is Tony Allen always this much of a jerk-off?

  • In reply to brad73:

    This is the first time that I ever noticed it. Maybe it was the hometown thing. He didn't do it in the finals last year while shutting down Kobe.

  • In reply to brad73:

    Deng nailed it in the post game interview. Memphis probably played harder, which doesn't often happen when the Bulls are involved. Thankfully Derrick did what MVPs do and, despite Boozer's being invisible on defense most of the game, his late offensive flurry probably kept Chicago close enough to dig it out.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    actually his net 48 +/- of 6.6 is higher than both Deng & Rose, and the season total of +187 puts him 4th on the team despite missing all those games

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    higher than Noah for both too

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    ChiRy, are you using +/- to argue the point that Tony Allen is a head case? Or just stating that he is a functionally productive head case? Actually I like this about Tony Allen (on a winning team, anyway) and think the Bulls could use one guy who has a little crazy in him.

  • In reply to bucketball:

    I was talking about Boozer

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    my bad, ChiRy, i didn't follow that reply arrow trail correctly. it makes a lot more sense now :)

  • In reply to Edward:

    Thanks for the update on the finals tiebreaker, i had looked on the web and couldn't find it either.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Schaumburg, Utah, Bucket, Doug, thanks for your compliments.
    I felt a little crazy calling the Home Office. Even Sam Smith in emails told me I was crazy for focusing on this. But Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy both recently stated in the media that Finals homecourt positioning is very important and is taking place right now.

    Jeff Van Gundy in particular stated that with all the talk about Boston not needing homecourt, they sure could have used it against the Lakers in last year

  • In reply to Edward:

    Awesome job man, I thought you were joking at first. I love Sam Smith, but that does sound like an answer he'd give to a question he doesn't know the answer for. Its crazy to not think home court in the finals is huge, esp at 2-3-2.

    BTW, what's that phone number?

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I hope Boozer gets into some kind of rhythm before the playoffs. I am guessing a little bit might have to do with his ankle injuries. His defense is already suspect and his ankle stuff is not helping him.
    And, Randolph must probably one of the best interior offensive guys in the NBA along with Pau Gasol. Most centers are defensive oriented. Plus, Rose had a tough game until the last shot.
    The bottom-line is they won a tough game. We have to let Thibs find the motivating tools for tomorrow.

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