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Dec 12, 2008

Grizzlies and Bulls 12/12/08 pregame notes

Memphis finally has a two game win streak in December. This has not been done since 2005!

Solid gold!

Congrats to the young grizz and a lot of help from Mr. Buckner and Mr. Ross. Ivy has stuck by them again in Oklahoma City, and went as far as benching O.J. Mayo in the fourth to eek out the win by going with the better defensive matchups (one can only speculate).

The bottom line for Grizzlies and their fans is that they seem to have a formula that is starting to catch fire and work for them. Maybe, dare we say, chemistry is aligning? You see Marc Gasol on the bench to start a game or Mike Conley, Jr. and they do no look dejected. Even Rudy Gay missed a start in the victory on Monday but rebounded (no pun) with a game high offensive output as a result.

This is reminiscent of old Grizzlies ball where the first, second, and third guys off the bench were just as important as the starters. That's the way the game should be played. That's how the best teams operate. I watched Philadelphia play some games recently and they look like the worst example in the opposite direction. But what about tonight's opponent, the Chicago Bulls?

Certainly they know about team schema, as Ben Gordon has been a recidivist for the 6th man award. The Bulls are also on a 2 game win streak, which includes beating a very angry New York Knicks team. But really for the Grizzlies to compete we must revisit both our loss to them early in the season and their recent games against Milwaukee and Philadelphia. Philadelphia played a rare double header in which they faced Bulls twice in a row on separate days. The games were split. In both games the key was containing Derrick Rose. He had monster games, and it took overtime for Philly to come out on top in game 2.

You might not hear much booing in the Memphis crowd tonight if Rose has a breakout performance!

The same danger faces us on this match again though in the shooting abilities of Larry Hughes and Ben Gordon. They shot over 50% from behind the arc against Philly in the win, and 17% in the loss to the Sixers!

So, the Bulls are dangerous at the 1 and 2 obviously and they can shoot the ball. Larry Hughes and Andres Nocioni both love to jack it up. Surprisingly, Nocioni has always come with his "A game" in Memphis it seems to me. He is a game changer with his reckless abandon, physical game that is characteristic of a lot of guys who come out of América del Sur.

Then another beast we might remember is Drew Gooden. He had MVP performances in his last game over New York, and a respectable double-double in the win against Washington.

What is this?
Well, nevermind!

I think our big guys are playing at a high level and can match up to Gooden tonight. But another important match up is going to be Luol Deng. Deng can hurt you all over the court. Rudy Gay and company will have to play top defense again to keep this a contest.

keys to the super bowl
  • Kyle Lowry and Mike Conley will have to sacrifice their bodies and go full tilt on Rose tonight
  • Gasol, Arthur, and Darko have to do a better job than their last game with Chicago on controlling the offensive boards
  • Memphis has to get loud. They need a sell out. This game should be on ESPN. Hornets are not what they were a year ago and everyone is tired of seeing the Celtics I am sure. The league blew it big time for not televising this showcase match up between the league's two newest bright stars.
  • Mayo has to get crazy because likely he will not face any particularly good defense tonight and he can just let it fly

keys to the toilet bowl
  • I already noted how successful the Bulls can be from downtown
  • Derrick Rose – they don't call him the human highlight film but they should
  • Drew Good, Aaron Grey, and Tyrus Thomas will try to get our goats but Darko is very protective of his goats!!! Don't try it!
  • Tempo. Bulls will run us off the court if they dictate the temp. I would not be too surprised to see a score of 116 to 108 tonight or something similar (in their favor). We have to run our race

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