Defensive battle ahead when Bulls host Grizz
If you're expecting a high-scoring shootout, Saturday night's contest between the visiting Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls won't be for you.
The Grizzlies are second in opponents' scoring and seventh in opponents' field-goal percentage. The Bulls are third in opponents' scoring and fourth in opponents' field-goal percentage.
"They're a lot like us," said Grizzlies guard Mike Conley. "They play very good defense and a very defense-minded team across the board. We have to find a way to score the ball."
Memphis defeated the Sacramento Kings at home on Friday night, 85-69, holding the Kings to season-lows in points (69), field-goal percentage (34.1 percent) and assists (9).
Zach Randolph missed the game due to a strained lower back, but all five starters registered double figures. Mike Conley led the way with 19 and Marc Gasol chipped in 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Tony Allen had a great all-around game with 14 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals. Rudy Gay contributed 13 points and Marreese Speights, who started in place of Randolph, netted 10 points.
Friday's victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Grizzlies.
"It happens. I've looked around the league and teams have been on losing streaks in certain parts of the season," said Conley. "All the good teams have gone through it. We're just going through a bad stretch and just trying to find a way to get ourselves out."
The Bulls head back to Chicago the winners of three straight, including two in a row on the road. Both road victories were overtime thrillers and Friday's in Boston against the Celtics was no different.
Kirk Hinrich hit the 15-footer to put the game in overtime, then Marco Belinelli's turnaround jumper with 3.1 seconds remaining in overtime lifted the Bulls to their 12th road victory of the season.
"It was a dog fight. It's one of those games that was a war from the beginning. It was kind of a like a roller coaster ride. We're just happy that we made the last shot," said Rip Hamilton, who led the Bulls in scoring with 20 points.
Hamilton may have led Chicago in scoring, but the Bulls best player was once again Carlos Boozer. The big man scored 19 points and pulled 20 rebounds in almost 43 minutes of action.
Boozer has been awesome in the month of January, averaging 23.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.
Joakim Noah added a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Belinelli, Nate Robinson and Jimmy Butler all cracked the 10-point mark off the bench.
The Grizzlies bested the Bulls, 80-71 in Memphis on Dec. 17. The Bulls are 7-1 in their last eight in Chicago in this series.