GAME: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Chicago Bulls
Time: 12:00 pm CST
PLACE: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
Records: Memphis (5-6), Chicago (12-2)
Expected Starting Lineups:
Memphis – Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Rudy Gay, Dante Cunningham, Marc Gasol
Chicago – Derrick Rose, Ronnie Brewer, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah
The Grizzlies have won back-to-back games in fairly comfortable fashion (although the last game was tighter than it should have been) and appear to have righted the ship finally following their recent three-game skid. While I joked about the last game being all about revenge due to the return of two former Grizzlies, this game truly will be about retaliation.
The last time these two teams met, Memphis saw Zach Randolph go down with an injury and then proceeded to fall behind by as many as 46 points before finally losing 104-64. Now, the Bulls are a great defensive team — of that, let there be no doubt — but they aren’t good enough to hold Memphis to 64 points and 31% from the field again.
Chicago looks to do two things every game: play defense and then play more defense. They win games in ugly fashion because winning is all that matters to them. The Grizzlies need to take a page from their book because the Bulls are doing “Grit & Grind” better than the denizens of the Grindhouse.
And because winning is all that matters, Chicago has been doing just that. They’ve only lost once in the 9 games since they drubbed the Grizzlies. Who was that against, you ask? The Atlanta Hawks, who had been embarrassed in Chicago earlier in the week before exacting their revenge once they got a crack at the Bulls at home. So see fans…it can be done.
For Memphis to win this game, they are going to have to get gritty….profoundly gritty. Grit & Grind cannot merely be a catchy phrase that sells t-shirts and elicits cheers. It needs to be the embodiment of this team’s style of play, night in and night out. They need to grind on every single possession. Every shot has to be contested, every passing lane defended and they need to hit the floor for every loose ball. That’s how they are going to win not only this game, but every game for the rest of the season.
For Chicago to win….they just have to keep doing what they’ve been doing. Play ugly, stifling defense and let Derrick Rose run their offense like the virtuoso that he is. Sad to say, but that’s the truth of the matter.
Prediction: Memphis wills their way to a victory by the narrowest of margins.