Well Bulls fans, I hope you drank a lot of milk, soda or any beverage of your choice to get that bad taste out of your mouth after watching the Dallas Mavericks blow out Chicago Saturday night. The good thing about the NBA is there’s always another game and always another opponent. The opponents will change but the challenges will stay the same for the Bulls. They need to find a way to score and get easy baskets. The Bulls next opponent will be the Memphis Grizzlies led by Zach Randolph aka Z-Bo and Michael Conley Jr. on the road.
First things first…For the Bulls to have any chance in this matchup, Joakim Noah has to play and play well. He has been bit with the injury bug suffering from a hip injury, but the Bulls need him to replicate the 20 point 10 rebound game from Saturday night. More importantly he has to stay out of foul trouble trying to bump bodies with Randolph. Let me tell you something, Zach Randolph has that old school game that I liken to Moses Malone. He’s that guy that just bangs on you until you end up getting tired then he takes the game over and no one can stop him on the block. Chicago has no one on the frontline that can keep him off the boards other than Noah. The message is clear. Noah has to play, period.
Secondly, The Bulls guards have to play better. The backcourt has been ravaged by injuries but for this team to have a chance to stay in the playoff race, either the guards improve or look for outside help. The Bulls have a top ranked defense in the NBA, everyone knows that, but there is a weakness. They struggle against quick guards. The Grizzlies have two of them in Michael Conley Jr. and Jerryd Bayless. How good is Conley Jr.? If the Grizzlies were in the Eastern Conference, he’d be a lock to be in the all star game. People do not know how good he is playing in the same conference as Chris Paul, Tony Parker and Russell Westbrook. This guy can play people. Bayless has found a home in Memphis coming off the bench. Kirk Hinrich and Jimmy Butler are going to have to keep the guards out of the middle to keep the pressure of the frontline (especially Noah) so the defense doesn’t break down. Jose Calderon is not the fastest guard in the world but he had success against the Bulls and Vince Carter looked like he actually could be productive in the league again. That’s definitely not a good sign if you are a Bulls fan. On the other side of the court they might want to start shooting somewhere close to straight. The guard combination of Hinrich, Butler and Snell combined for 4-22 shooting while shooting 2-13 from the land of three. Guh!
This is a challenge to Carlos Boozer. You need to assert yourself. Joakim Noah has shown real heart through his tenure in Chicago. It’s time for you to do the same. With Marc Gasol out for the Grizzlies, you should have a field day on the block and help get the Grizzlies front line in foul trouble. If you do what you are capable of and be aggressive, the Bulls can win this game.
If you are looking for a game in the triple digits this is not the game for you. However, if defense is your bag, this is the game is a must see. This is a game between two teams that can defend well. For the Bulls to pull this out, they need to stop guard penetration and limit Zach Randolph from dominating down low. Both teams need to win because both teams are at the bottom of their respective conferences.
My prediction: This is with an asterisk, but if Carlos Boozer comes out and makes an impact. Bulls win! Bulls win! (Love you Johnny “Red” Kerr.)
Tags: Chicago Bulls