The Memphis Grizzlies are starting to look more like the team
that reached last season’s Western Conference finals.
That’s not likely to change against the visiting Chicago
The Grizzlies go for a fourth win in five tries Monday night
when they attempt to continue their home dominance of the
Memphis (13-16) set a franchise record with 56 wins last season
and advanced to the conference finals, only to be swept by San
Antonio. The Grizzlies have struggled to build on that success in
2013-14, but have shown signs of turning things around.
They’ve won three of four games following a season-high
five-game slide, and they’re coming off their most impressive
offensive display of the season.
Memphis beat Denver 120-99 on Saturday, hitting 51.6 percent
from the field, including 8 of 19 from 3-point range
“Teams know that we’re going to play hard and, regardless of our
record, we’re going to be a tough out,” said guard Mike Conley, who
had 14 points. “We’ve always been a thorn in the side of a lot of
teams. Hopefully, we’re starting to get back to that.”
That’s certainly been the case at home against Chicago
The Grizzlies have won 12 of the past 14 home matchups with the
Bulls, holding them to an average of 88.9 points. They took the
latest matchup there 80-71 on Dec. 17, 2012, limiting the Bulls to
2 of 11 from beyond the arc and 37.3 percent shooting overall.
Zach Randolph has been key to Memphis’ recent success, averaging
22.5 points and 12.0 rebounds over the past four games. The forward
hasn’t come close to being that effective offensively in his last
three meetings with Chicago, scoring 8.3 points per game while
making just 11 of 39 field goals.
The Bulls have lost eight of 11 games while averaging 85.8
points, and they’re expected to be without Luol Deng for a fifth
straight game due to a lingering sore left Achilles.
“In the past, I would’ve been out there and playing and then
missing another month or so, and I really don’t want to do that,”
said Deng, who leads the team with 19.6 points per game while
pulling down 7.0 boards with 4.1 assists.
Chicago will try to bounce back from Saturday’s 105-83 home loss
to Dallas, making just 3 of 17 from long range. The Bulls had won
the previous two games while shooting 51.0 percent from the field –
46.9 from 3-point range.
“Whenever you feel too good about yourself somebody smacks you,”
said forward Taj Gibson, who had 13 points against the Mavericks
after totaling 35 in the prior two games. “That’s a part of the
Joakim Noah is looking to build on his 20 points and 10 rebounds
from Saturday, but he’s had a tough time in nine career meetings
with the Grizzlies. He’s averaged 5.3 points and 5.3 boards against
them, and that includes totaling 21 and 14 in two losses last