Well, the team was in uniform, but not really.
“Glad this one’s out of the way now, with any luck there won’t be another one this season” is the closest thing to a positive that can be taken from this “game” (term applied loosely).
To quote Mr. Hand from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, I might have asked the basketball deities regarding this game…
“AM I HALLUCINATING HERE? JUST WHAT IN THE H*&^ DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING??”
Well, some things did happen. None of them good. But past the jump I’ll make an attempt to put it in its wholeheartedly negative perspective.
The Bulls are the best defensive team I’ve seen since the ’04 champ Pistons. Yes, better than the Celtics trophy-winning team. Yes, better than the ’07 Spurs.
However, this wasn’t just about the Bulls amazingly, ridiculously spectacular defense. The Grizzlies did some things very, very wrong:
- Played into the hands of a devastatingly effective interior defense. The Grizzlies’ first quarter was marked by about 4000 attempts to run poorly-spaced pick and roll plays, often with the roller trying to get to the hoop through the center of the lane. Somehow, on almost every one of these plays, about 13 Bulls jerseys wound up between the roller and the basket. Don’t know how that fit within the rules, but it happened nonetheless. In the battle between the Griz’ irresistible-force inside game and the immovable-object Bulls interior D, the wall won, especially after Z-Bo went down with a knee contusion. Sure, every team knows what’s coming when they play the Griz, but a great defensive team like the Bulls can keep it from getting them down. When a coach can make Carlos Boozer look like a great defender, the team and scheme are rocking.
- Following from the above, the Grizzlies did something that teams trying to grow into contenders do not do-they got down on themselves. Rudy Gay, in particular, started into the dreaded CHUCKIT routine. It’s not a question of whether Rudy can be integrated into the offense, it’s a question of whether Rudy can do the things that will make him feel successful. Better movement without the ball is what we must see from Rudy if the Griz are to make the playoffs this season. With the length and stride Rudy possesses, give-and-go and back cuts must become more prevalent. Gay has shown great effort on the boards thus far, and that’s great-but he’s gotta get to where he’s putting the ball in the hoop more regularly. He’s just in his own head about it at this point, and he’s gotta get past it.
- No defensive efficiency. In the early part of the game, the Grizzlies kept the Bulls working on offense very late in the shot clock on several possessions-but that disintegrated as soon as the Bulls hit a few jumpers. All the energy in the world won’t get stops unless it’s used properly and judiciously. Unsurprisingly, the Griz were killed on the boards, with the -13 (18 against 31 for the Bulls) in the first half pretty much deciding the outcome in the battle of the glass…and guess what rebounding is? That’s right, having the energy and presence of mind to position oneself properly.
Ok. That’s all I can do about this game. Yuk.
Again, one must hope that the biggest stinker of the season is now out of the way.