In a game coming off a complete beat down by the Dallas Mavericks, The Bulls decided to go to “Music City” and play some beats of their own on the Memphis Grizzlies 95-91. This was a complete effort that was led by a season high 26 points by Jimmy Butler. He was backed up by a strong game by Carlos Boozer, who recorded a double-double scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. When the Grizzlies made a run in the fourth quarter, DJ Augustin kept the game out of reach scoring eight of his ten points in the fourth quarter. Mike Conley led Memphis with 26 points 9 assists and 6 steals.
In this game’s preview, I stated with an asterisk that the Bulls would win ONLY if Carlos Boozer came out and made an impact. He did that by getting a double-double. But we should not be surprised, over his career against Memphis scanning 21 games, he averages 20.1 points and 10.9 rebounds while shooting 56.5 percent from the field. The key here was he was aggressive early. He grabbed four rebounds in less than four minutes. That’s huge because he was trying to get in a rhythm early instead of “letting the game come to him”. Furthermore, he allowed Joakim Noah the opportunity to focus on Zach Randolph, and boy did he. Z-bo was harassed into a 4-15 shooting night for only 10 points. most of those baskets were from the perimeter. What does that mean? Noah stays in the game, doesn’t get into early foul trouble and makes Randolph work. Huge victory for the Bulls here.
The game belonged to Jimmy Butler. The game ball goes to him, he was the catalyst. Yes he scored 26 points but it was HOW he scored his buckets. He scored 14 points in the 3rd quarter when the Bulls went on a 19-4 run to take control of the game. His line, he shot 6-10 from the field, 2-3 from the land of three and went to the line 14 times and hit 12. What does that tell us ladies and gentlemen? He was aggressive!!! He did not stay out at the three point line, he took it to the basket and drew fouls. When your jumper is not falling, take your problems inside and catch a rhythm shooting free throws.
The Bulls defense well, was the Bulls defense. They turned the Memphis Grizzlies over 20 times in this game. Many of them led to easy scores on the other end. This my friends is how the Bulls are going to have create opportunities to score points. They are DEAD LAST in the NBA in scoring. They are 28th in field goal percentage and three point percentage and they turn the ball over at a high rate bottoming out at 27th in the league. Since the Bulls struggle to score so much they might have to speed the game up so they can get easy scores. This might be where DJ Augustin comes in. I will not lie, I almost laughed at the thought that the Bulls brought him in, but he showed me something tonight. When the Bulls got the ball to him on the break he got the ball up quickly and got Jimmy Butler easy scores. Tony Snell actually scored some buckets tonight on the break, again with DJ feeding him on the wing. With these guys shooting 40.5% (Butler) and 36.7 (Snell) it shows they struggle making shots in a half court sets. If Augustin keeps making an impact like this, it might be time to start him soon. He’s getting confident. I liked it when he was talking trash with the crowd when he knocked down that three in the fourth quarter with the shot clock winding down. Classic!!
If the playoffs started today, the Bulls are out of the playoffs. But don’t sweat Bull-a-holics 11 of the next 13 games are against teams that are under .500. In the awful Leastern Conference that means Chicago can make up ground in the upcoming weeks. Next up, Toronto at home. A winnable game. Keep it locked to Pippen Aint Easy for the preview and recap of tomorrow’s game.
On a personal note, I would like to send my prayers to the Thibodeau family for their loss. It was reported by Fansided’s Andrew Melnick that Coach Thibodeau missed the morning shoot around to be at his father’s funeral. It is hard to lose such a close family member during the holidays especially on Christmas Day. For Coach to show up to coach the game not only shows what kind of character Coach Thibodeau has, but his father as well. For you basketball fans out there go out and show your father that you care. I know I just did.