Usually, when it comes to scoring, Zach Randolph or Rudy Gay are in charge of the task for the Memphis Grizzlies. Trying to find their way back to winning streaks, going in other directions, like relying on Marc Gasol, different courses of action are being taken.
And an 85-82 win over the Chicago Bulls is something to be pleased about, but not too much. The Bulls were playing without Luol Deng and were coming off two consecutive overtime games. This was the first time in franchise history in which they played three overtime games in a row, meaning there were some tired players and feet out there.
Not that it stopped them from playing great defense. The Grizzlies kept going to the paint, shooting only five times from beyond the arc. They finished with only 40.5% from the field, as Gay and Randolph combined for a disastrous 12 of 39 from the field. Both teams have a similar style, with a Small Forward that’s the key man in making the difference. This time, the Bulls didn’t have theirs while Marc Gasol took things to another level, something both Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer couldn’t do this time.
Marc Gasol scored a game high 19 points (adding 8 rebounds) and it always looked like the Bulls were more worried about keeping track of other players than the young Gasol brother, who’s averaging 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds this season. After three consecutive losses, Gasol has been a big reason for the Grizzlies winning their last two, scoring 38 points and grabbing 18 rebounds compared to the 9.3 points per game during the losing streak.
When the Bulls only have Nate Robinson to sell to the world in a game, they’re in trouble. Robinson does something amazing or unexplained every game, but he makes so many mistakes and takes so many bad shots along with the good he brings it’s impossible to have him as you leading guard. Kirk Hinrich and Rip Hamilton struggled against the excellent defense from Mike Conley and Tony Allen. Nate Robinson was the one who got away during his minutes on the floor, but he couldn’t do enough to let the Bulls get away with another one.
When we got into overtime we went to our horses, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. We played an inside-outside game. Our All-Star bigs took over the game. Offensive rebounding ultimately got us the win. We were battling and battling. They made some tough defensive plays and then we finished off the possession with an offensive rebound and they couldn’t finish it off with a defensive rebound. n the overtime, we moved the ball better. We created some open shots and we kept attacking the paint. I think they got too many easy buckets and that’s why they got back in the game. Too many of those.
The Bulls played without Noah in both overtime and the fourth quarter, which Thibodeau called simply as a coaching decision after the game. Noah didn’t talk to reporters as he left the arena, but it was a decision that surprised the Grizzlies as well, and looked like it was helping them dominate the boards in the crucial minutes of the game, making it much easier for Marc Gasol to hit shots against Boozer while Randolph felt a lot more comfortable without Noah on the floor.