Chicago has now dropped consecutive road games at Indiana (98-84) and San Antonio (116-105), with the latter contest being riddled with miscues as the Bulls committed 22 turnovers. Now, the Bulls return home to face a revenge-minded Memphis squad looking to make amends for its loss to Chicago earlier this season. Chicago’s injury-riddled lineup remains without Derrick Rose (right knee), Taj Gibson (ankle) and Jimmy Butler (left elbow).
Rose is in the early stages of his rehab from a torn meniscus in his right knee, Rose is expected to miss three-to-four weeks with a sprained elbow and Gibson is still hobbled with an ankle injury. Butler leads the team in scoring with 20.2 points per game, while Rose is second with 18.4 points per game. Gibson was averaging 10.6 points and 6.6 rebounds in 28:06 minutes per game before suffering his injury.
The Grizzlies’ success this season has been predicated upon a stifling defense that is allowing 95.6 points per game to teams that would combine to average 100.2 points per game. That defensive intensity has been even better over the last five games in which Memphis has limited opponents to a mere 95.0 points per game.
Overall, the Grizzlies are 4.6 points per game better than average defensively, which is good enough to shutdown a depleted Chicago attack that is averaging just 96.0 points on 40.9% shooting from the field and 30.5% from beyond the arc over the last five games. While Chicago is 1.3 points per game better than average offensively (101.1 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 99.8 points per game), those numbers do not take into account the absences of both Butler and Rose.
The other concern for Chicago has been its lack of defensive effort in the last give games over which time the Bulls are yielding 101.4 points per game. Indeed, Chicago has given up a combined 319 points in the last three games alone, which is an average of 106.3 points per game. From a technical standpoint, the Bulls continue to be overvalued at home where they are a money-burning 49-74 ATS over the last three seasons.
Let’s also note that Chicago is 9-21 ATS following a road game and 21-35 ATS off back-to-back road tilts, whereas the Grizzlies are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games versus .601 or greater opposition. Memphis is also 4-1 ATS in its last five trips to Chicago, while the road team is a perfect 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings in this series. Finally, the Grizzlies are coming off a 95-89 loss at New Orleans wherein they blew an 18-point lead, which is significant in that Memphis now applies to a very good 21-1-1 ATS subset angle to a 97-21-3 ATS NBA situation of mine.
It also sounds like Memphis is going to use Saturday’s loss as a learning example, one in which will likely play immediate dividends tonight in Chicago. “We’re still learning, still got a lot of work to do,” said Zach Randolph. Lay the wood with Memphis in tonight’s NBA contest and invest with confidence.