Chuck Checks In: Bulls take on the red-hot Grizzlies in Memphis
Chicago takes on a Memphis team that is 9-1 over the last 10 games.
Remind Me Later •
GAME DAY FROM MEMPHIS
Bulls (27-14, 12-8 on the road) at Memphis ( 30-15, 16-9 at home), 2:30CT.
RADIO: 670 The Score. Chuck Swirsky and Bill Wennington. 2:15pre. TV: TNT.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls- DeRozan (25 ppg), Memphis- Morant: 24ppg. LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls- Vucevic (11), Memphis- Adams (9)
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls- DeRozan (4), Memphis- Morant (6)
SEASON SERIES: First meeting.
CCI PREVIEW: The Bulls get their first look at the Grizzlies who are knocking on the door for the top spot in the Western Conference trailing the first place Suns by 4.5 games. Memphis had its franchise record 11-game win streak end on Friday by the Dallas Mavericks but make no mistake about the grit, strength and skill level of one of the youngest NBA teams.
I'm not one to compare players but suffice to say, Ja Morant has a similar skill set to the great Hall of Fame guard Allen Iverson. Morant can beat you off the dribble and can certainly play below and above the rim. His 3-point shooting needs work but perhaps that will come.
Morant brings a ton of energy to each and every game and his teammates feed off it. Former Michigan State big man Jaren Jackson Jr. is healthy and living up to his potential that made him the fourth overall pick in the 2019 draft.
6-foot-5 guard Desmond Bane, selected 30th overall in the 2020 draft is playing like a lottery pick...He's having a break out season averaging 17 points, four rebounds and two assists shooting 42% from 3-point range. Dillon Brooks, a very good two-way player is sidelined with an ankle injury.
The Bulls will need to match the same effort, energy and fight against Memphis that was exhibited in Saturday's loss at Boston. With seven players out, Head Coach Billy Donovan doesn't have many options to play with but this is a make or miss league and every possession is important whoever is on the floor. I'm expecting Ayo Dosunmu to guard Morant in what promises to be the key matchup of the day.
Another key matchup involves Nikola Vucevic and Steven Adams. Two "bigs" each possessing different skill sets but both very effective for their respective teams.
The Grizzlies lead the NBA in blocks (6 per), steals (10 per) and rebounding with 38 per game.
The Bulls have lost three straight and four of five in a jammed Eastern Conference race. 10 teams are within six games of the first place Bulls.
CCI 24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES
Minnesota 119, Golden State: No Steph Curry. No Draymond Green. Green will be sidelined at least two more weeks with a calf injury.
Phoenix 135, Detroit 108: The 33-9 Suns have won six of seven .
Houston 118, Sacramento 112: Kings guard Tyrese Halliburton has entered the NBA's health and safety protocols.
Utah 125, Denver 102: The Jazz outscored the Nuggets 34-14 in the fourth quarter.