Bulls return home 3-1 to face Grizzlies 7pm on CSN

Bulls return home 3-1 to face Grizzlies 7pm on CSN

The Chicago Bulls kicked off the 2011-2012 season with a successful road trip, and now they'll return home for a couple of tough opponents before heading out on the road again. The schedule hasn't exactly been murderers row, but in their first nine games, seven will be on the road, and only two or three of them are against teams expected to miss the playoffs.

It's a nice early test for the Bulls, and tonight's game against Memphis will be another solid benchmark for the team. The Grizzlies play with tremendous balance. They can put a lineup of five quality scorers on the floor, and they have a lot of bulk at the power forward and center positions.

They'll test the Bulls in ways they haven't yet been tested this year as they have a couple of excellent low post players that the Bulls will have to contend with.

Keys to the game

Don't let Randolph bully you inside

Zack Randolph can be a load to deal with when he's on his game, but he has a long history of also falling in love with his jumper rather than working down load where he can become a threat on the offensive glass and bully several of our post defenders to score in the post.

If Chicago can keep most of Randolph's work outside, they'll be in must better shape.

Get out and run

The Grizzlies have quality players all over the floor, but their big men aren't the quickest, and the Bulls could do some serious damage with their big men aggressively running the floor. Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah should be able to get behind the Grizzlies defense in transition for some easy baskets if they play aggressively.

Drive Derrick drive

The Grizzlies have quality offensive big men, but they aren't big time shot blockers. Their interior help defense isn't quick or athletic enough to disturb Rose when he gets into the paint. Rose should attack the basket all game long and make it to the foul line plenty of times for easy points.

Final thoughts

Memphis is a quality team with plenty of depth. Chicago has several significant advantages which should lead to victory. They'll also be amped up to play in front of the home crowd for the first time this season. I expect a comfortable Bulls victory, but there's no guarantees against a quality opponent.


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  • This is a game where Asik and Taj can make a big impact on defense if Randolph wants to come inside. Taj can guard Gasol and Asik can frustrate Randolph with his length.
    Also, this is a game where Brewer, Deng can guard their wings who are highly thought off by a lot of Bulls fans(Gay and Mayo).
    The one thing which might work in Bulls favor is that Memphis might be a little complacent because of their playoff success and might not have the same intensity as a desperate team.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Schaumburg: For the Grizzlies games, we're managing our expectations in regards to Boozers impact on the defensive end of the floor....it's on Taj + Asik. What constitutes a positive contribution by Carlos in this game?

    1) Outscoring randolph
    2) Being benched in the 4th quarter
    3) Yelling for phantom fouls

    I am struggling to define his value in the starting unit. It's an unfavorable match up for our future amnesty power forward. Grab some bench, C

  • One thing I always look for is when extended doubles/teams commmit to get the ball out of D's hands consistently. When that doesn't happen Derrick almost always dominates especially in second halfs i.e Bulls win.

    I've always felt that besides offensive talent of slashers and three shooters there still should be an answer to two guys leaving the court to almost or above the three line to check Derrick.

    In the Clips game there wasn't a ton of commmited extended doubles, but when they did, Joakim stood as the outlett at the top of the key/free throw line extended. And Jo can facilitate as a big when his game/energy is on. Then either he can drive or hit cutters. So you make teams pay for a vacated lane with a two man game. Whoever doubles, Rose usually a big, the whole team should befocused on that vacated player either driving and hitting a cutter off rotation or going to the basket themselves and either dunking that ball or at min getting to the line.

    I hope this and running out screens to set Derrick free are used much more to effect, and burn teams for doubling so far out. If so, I think Derrick and the team could feast/beomce much more consistent offensively/build some momentum, and possibly/gives them a chance to win on an elite level in the playoffs.

    I'll be interested to see if Memphis and Lionel hollins decide to extend doubles, and if so, will the Bulls be more consistent in breaking those doubles or struggle some as they did last season.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Good points !!RW....The one thing is the positioning of the other guys who try to take the pass from Noah(Rip, Asik,Noah or Deng or whoever).. I feel it requires almost an unconventional positioning of that other Bulls player when Rose is blanketed by two defenders. Sometimes, odd it may be look or sound...if somebody like Deng or Noah is positioned very close to Rose, they might be able to take the ball from Rose without a risk of turnover and pass it of to a open Bulls offensive player.

  • Keep this team out of the paint since they cannot shoot 3s and struggles with their jumpshots. Their frontcourt is the main offense and our bigs have to try to limit them along with their athletic slashers. We should win this one but if the Bulls come out like they did against GS, with turnovers and bad defense, its going to be a long night. Bulls have to attack and stop having this jumpshot love fest when shots aren't falling.

  • Against tonight's front court, I would love to see Asik and Noah, with Noah guarding Randolph. I really think they could exploit such matchups.

  • I see a lot of comments against Boozer but as Shakes said in the previous post, we are expecting too much from Boozer and getting more disappointed. I think except for the GS game(where almost everyone played badly), he has played pretty well. Off-course, he was nowhere near Blake Griffin. But, with the force Blake was going in it would have just been a 2 and 1. It is better to give up 2 pts rather than 3 and Taj wouldn't couldn't stop him either. He does rebound well .
    There is no point using the amnesty on Boozer. He does provide something which Taj cannot do and the Bulls will be over the salary cap anyhow after they resign Taj and Omer.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Um, Noah was "forced" to guard Griffin, Boozer wouldn't come out of the locker room otherwise.

  • SF: It's an eventuality that Boozer will be traded or amnestied prior to completing his 5 year 75 million dollar contract. Likely in the 4th year of this deal. In paraphrasing your thought process: we should lower our expectations of Boozer because:

    1) A better PF solution is not presently available
    2) Potential future luxury tax issues
    2) Carlos is an accomplished rebounder
    3) Strong mid-range, fade away jumper

    Yes, I agree that we'll be forced to accept Boozer diminishing PF skill set over the next 2 years. It's a depressing equation: we're hoping a career 20/10 offensive stat line will neutralize his obvious defensive weaknesses. The end impact for the bulls is negative. Sad, sad times, C

  • In reply to cgiebelh:

    Totally agree, this is why despite what many try to say, contracts do matter, and you do judge a guy by what he produces vs his contract, especially in salary cap and luxury tax systems.

  • Doug: With Zach Randolph out with a 1st quarter knee injury, the bulls will control the paint.....this game is already over! Nice, C

  • Brewer looks good in that starting lineup ... hopefully a permanent shift even with Rip back (a man can dream).

    Boozer finally showed up to play too.

  • Boozer's parents are in the front row. I guess Boozer will keep his mouth quiet and his play do the talking.
    What's with these guys playing well only when their parents(Boozer) or grand-parent(Noah) are present? Maybe the Bulls should sponsor the families against Miami

  • Is there anybody in the league faster than Derrick. He's like the Blur out there.

  • Man what a slaughter, hopefully Thibs keeps the bench in the rest of the way and gets Jimmy Butler some burn.

    I'd play Butler the full 4th quarter to get him some minutes, it's not like you can possibly blow a 40 point lead.

  • Man, losing Watson would be a big blow. I know lots of people don't like him, but you'll like him a whole lot more when you see John Lucas playing 10 minutes a night.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Doug: Spot on! I watched CJs floor game closely tonight. He is able to run the 2nd unit offense seamlessly. Hopefully, the left elbow injury is a minor hyper-extension + not a torn ligament. John Lucas III is a NBA practice player; he is definitely not talented enough to step into the back up point guard role. Let's hope Fred works his magic quickly. Great game, C

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Agreed, losing CJ would suck.

  • why is brewer still in the game? maybe thibodeau will sub him out for deng soon.

  • I see hate towards boozer, 17pts 11rebs.
    i see hate towards lucas, 8pts 2assist 1reb in 10 minutes.

    Keep up the hate, its working lol

  • In reply to rob32:

    Rob: I see the Memphis Grizzlies minus Zach Randolph. It would be great to play this squad all the time; but it does not work that way. Tx , C

  • Good game all around, except for CJ's injury. Not that often you see an NBA team play as badly as the Grizzlies did tonight. No Conley + no Randolph + no depth = huge win for Bulls.

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