Led by superstar youngster Ja Morant, the Memphis Grizzlies have been the West’s biggest surprise this season, pushing themselves all the way into the conference’s third spot with just a handful of weeks to go. They aren’t going anywhere as the playoffs creep closer, so any win over this squad right now should be considered a good win.
Memphis Grizzlies (41-20) at Chicago Bulls (39-21) – 7:00 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV), and 670 The Score (Radio)
1. Ayo Dosunmu
2. Zach LaVine
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Javonte Green
5. Nikola Vučević
Injury Report: Lonzo Ball OUT (knee), Alex Caruso OUT (wrist), Patrick Williams OUT (wrist)
1. Ja Morant
2. Desmond Bane
3. Kyle Anderson
4. Jaren Jackson Jr.
5. Steven Adams
Injury Report: Dillion Brooks (ankle), Yves Pons OUT (thigh)
What to Watch For …
• The last time the Grizzlies and Bulls met … things weren’t pretty. Morant and Co. relentlessly attacked the Bulls’ weak frontcourt, finishing the night with a 64-38 advantage in the paint. They ended up shooting 51.1 percent thanks to a balanced scoring effort that saw six players reach double figures. If the Bulls want to keep up tonight, their defense simply has to be better. Not only will we have to see more pressure on the ball at the point of attack, but guys like Javonte Green and Derrick Jones Jr. – two guys who didn’t play in the last matchup – will have to help put a body on those charging the rim. The same goes for Tristan Thompson, who was signed for big matchups like this.
• Nikola Vucevic’s resurgence also shouldn’t hurt the Bulls’ chances tonight. The big man was still in a funk when these squads battled in mid-January, and he finished the game with just 7 points on 2-13 shooting. Since that night, Vucevic has gone on to average 21.9 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists with a 53.5 percent success rate from the field. Steven Adams has had a strong season, but there is no reason this recent version of Vucevic can’t help his team out by winning this matchup.
• The Grizzlies have the NBA’s 6th-best Net Rating, proving to be one of the most balanced teams in the NBA. With that being the case, there is no question they will present one of the more imposing defenses DeMar DeRozan has seen over this recent dominant stretch. While he scored 24 points when they played in January, it was on just 10-24 shooting in a -16 performance.
• If DeRozan does come back down to earth tonight, can Zach LaVine be ready to carry the scoring load? The All-Star reserve looked a bit out of rhythm in his first game back as he shot 7-17 from the floor with 20 points, but we all know it’s only a matter of time before we get another explosive LaVine performance.
If it wasn't clear from not being listed on injury report, Zach LaVine confirmed after Bulls shoot he had no pain/symptoms in left knee vs. ATL
"Just want to make sure I can get my rhythm and timing back fast.. As long as my body’s healthy I’m gonna be fine basketball-wise.”
— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) February 26, 2022
• More in here …
Grizzlies Come to Town, Big Man Help, DeRozan’s Improving MVP Odds, and Other Bulls Bulletshttps://t.co/bfQ4P7lreA
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) February 26, 2022