WHERE: United Center in Chicago, Illinois
WHEN: 7 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Chandler Parsons (Out, knee)
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Vince Carter, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol
CHICAGO- Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, Bobby Portis, Robin Lopez
“Our long national nightmare is over”
Gerald Ford said this in his inauguration on August 9th, 1974 while the country was finally putting Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal behind them.
The Memphis Grizzlies’ 5-game losing streak was arguably much worse than Watergate, and that, Grizzlies fans, is finally over.
The Grizzlies defeated the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday 113-93. It was the most encouraging effort from Memphis over the past two weeks, and the Grizzlies look to build momentum off of that win in their game against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.
The Grizzlies are going to be without Chandler Parsons, however. He was diagnosed with a partially torn meniscus on Monday and is most likely lost for the season. The Grizz won the first game after this news, but getting consistent wing production will be massively important in this critical part of the season.
The Grizzlies need to continue racking up wins after a losing streak like that. Here’s what to look for in Chicago as the Grizzlies look to do just that.
Keep Role Players as Role Players
The Bulls are very limited offensively, like the Grizzlies. Other than their 2 key players Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, the Bulls aren’t threatening on offense. Their 3rd highest scorer on the Bulls’ roster is Robin Lopez, only averaging 10 PPG on on 48% shooting.
That being said, this is what the Grizzlies had a problem with in their first match-up with the Bulls.
Doug McDermott, now on the Oklahoma City Thunder, torched the Grizzlies back in January. Dwyane Wade didn’t play and Jimmy Butler was held to only 16 points. One would think this would be a formula for a Grizzlies victory, but Dougie McBuckets had other thoughts.
He ended up scoring 31 points on 9-16 shooting (with 3 three-pointers). He also shot 11 free throws while the Grizzlies as a team attempted only 13.
Since McDermott is no longer on the team, the Grizzlies don’t have to worry about him in particular going off, but they need to focus on stopping Chicago’s role players. Jimmy Butler is a superstar. If he’s on a roll, he’ll be able to get his no matter what. The Grizzlies might have to live with that. What the Grizzlies can’t live with is Nikola Mirotic or Rajon Rondo scoring 20+ because the Grizzlies might not be able to keep up.
Who will take Parsons’ place?
On Monday night, Vince Carter showed off his agelessness.
He was perfect from the field, 8-8 from the floor in general and 6-6 on 3-pointers. He even made all (two) of his free throws!
But unless Vince Carter is going to be shooting 100% for the rest of the season, the Grizzlies are going to need find consistent production from their wing players. Troy Daniels and James Ennis have found themselves in David Fizdale’s doghouse at times this season. Now that Chandler Parsons looks to be out of the picture, this is a chance for Daniels, Ennis, and Carter to continue stepping up.
The Grizzlies may end up using a Small Forward-by-committee until they find a lineup that works. Tonight’s game will be a key step going forward in finding that lineup. Going up against Jimmy Butler will be a fantastic test to see who will be the best Small Forward for the Grizzlies.
The Bulls won a tight game in January in their first match-up of the season.
I’m predicting the exact opposite of that. The Grizzlies got back on the horse with a huge win against Milwaukee. The Bulls lost their two top scorers from their last match-up without getting much offensive help in return.
Prediction: Grizzlies 108 Bulls 91