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Chicago Bulls (23-15) V. Memphis Grizzlies (25-13) Preview: Destination Horror

January 19th, 2013 at 4:53 PM
By Caleb Nordgren

The last time the Chicago Bulls took on the Memphis Grizzlies was December 17. I remember this without having to look it up because that happened to be my birthday. And the Bulls' suckfest was a legitimate downer to end my day. In fact, I got so frustrated by how terribly they played in that 80-71 loss, that my preview for the next day's game was just a list of things I would rather do than watch the Bulls play.

So, let's just say I'm not particularly looking forward to the rematch, especially now that Luol Deng isn't playing. Deng is one of the Bulls' better offensive players, so this could get ugly.

On the bright side, as an unabashed Jimmy Butler fanboy, this is great, since it likely means that he'll get to start and play a significant chunk of minutes. In fact, as I theorized on Twitter last night, it might even mean that he'll play all 48 minutes, since that's what happened when Deng sat out the third game of the preseason back in October. I'm not saying this will happen, just that it's on the table. You know how Thibs is.

Anyway, the Grizzlies, much like the Bulls, are a great defensive team with little outside shooting who feature one of the best passing centers in the league. After a really hot start, their offense has more or less fallen off a cliff, but they're still better than the Bulls. The trick will be limiting Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. If you can make Mike Conley do all the work offensively, they're in trouble.

Key Matchup: Carlos Boozer v. Zach Randolph

I keep waiting for Boozer to revert to the version of himself we saw for his first 2+ years in Chicago, but he hasn't yet, and the Bulls need him to hold that off for a little longer. Expect to see lots and lots of Boozer iso, at least early on. Randolph can't guard him if he faces up, at least in theory.

Meanwhile, it's kind of unlikely that Boozer will be able to check Randolph either, but if he can at least mostly keep him shooting jumpers, that would help.

Tags: Carlos Boozer, Chicago, Chicago Bulls, Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng, Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies, NBA, Thibs, Zach Randolph

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