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.
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.
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.