8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
Line: Memphis by -6.0; O/U: 180.0
It's not very often the Bulls come into Memphis. Before writing this piece, I had a hard time remembering when it was I last watched a Bulls game. Though, tonight should be interesting.
With Memphis (15-6) and Chicago (13-9) rank second and third in the NBA in points yielded per game, defense is a valuable key to victory for both teams.
On Saturday's 83-82 home win over Brooklyn, Chicago ended with a 12-5 run. Memphis ended their season-high three-game losing streak the same night with a 99-86 victory over Utah - limiting the Jazz to 32 second-half points to erase a 10-point deficit at the break.
There are scary similarities between the two teams - both are shooting 44.2 percent (yes, the 0.2 percent is necessary) from the field while the benches rank among the league's worst per game (Chicago: 25.7 ppg and Memphis 24.8 ppg).
Marquis Teague, Chicago's first round pick this season, had a season-high 8 points in the end-of-the-game run. Over the last two games, Teague hasn't seen much action - only 14 points and six assists.
Tonight, Teague will probably spend some time guarding Conley in a PG matchup featuring two guys from Indianapolis. Both point guards are known for defense: Conley is third in league with 2.4 steals per game. In the Chicago-Memphis series, the home team has dominated (winning 25 of 33 meetings). The Bulls are 2-9 all time in Memphis.
Though this game is getting attention defensively, the sports fan inside of me for some reason thinks that when two defensive teams like this clash, the defenses will crumble and the offense will shine. The O/U tonight is at 180.0 - I'm definitely going over with it. Simply becaues my gut says so.
Look for Mike Conley and Marc Gasol to each have big nights - the Grizzlies bench is due for a big night tonight as well. Heck - will we see another run by THE Wayne Ellington? Maybe.
Final Score: Chicago 92, Memphis 98
See you all tonight on the game thread!