Chicago Bulls (19-21 SU, 19-21 ATS, 14-25-1 O/U) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (25-17 SU, 22-20 ATS, 18-22-2 O/U)
NBA: Sunday, January 15, 2016, FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee, 9 pm ET
Line: Memphis -8; Over/Under: 192.5
It’s an inter-conference matchup down in Bluff City. The Chicago Bulls play the second game of a back to back as they face the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday night. Chicago was in action at home Saturday as they hosted the Pelicans in another inter-conference tilt. Memphis won for the third time in four games as they clipped the Rockets 110-105 on the road Friday night. Chicago has a narrow 22-19 lead in the all-time regular season series. The teams split two meetings last season with the Grizzlies prevailing 108-92 in the last matchup here on April 5, 2016.
Chicago Bulls Hoping for Better Health
Chicago went into Saturday’s game losers of three straight games as injuries and illness ravaged their rotation. The Bulls had been minus Nikola Mirotic and Jimmy Butler during that run with Denzel Valentine battling illness as well. Butler and Valentine were back in the mix Saturday but Mirotic remained out of the lineup. Chicago entered Saturday ninth in the Eastern Conference, 10.5 games behind the Cavaliers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and in the Central Division. The Bulls were one game behind the Wizards for the final playoff spot. Chicago is 7-13 on the road and was 4-6 against the Western Conference.
The Bulls come into this contest 23rd in the league with 101.2 points per game this season. Chicago is 1st in the league in rebounding with 47.3 boards per contest. The Bulls are 23rd in the league in assists with 21 dimes per game. Chicago is 6th in scoring defense as they allow 101.4 points a night. Jimmy Butler leads the team with 25 points plus 6.7 rebounds per game. Dwyane Wade averages 18.8 points plus 4.1 rebounds per game. Taj Gibson chips in 11.8 points plus 7.1 boards a night, Doug McDermott averages 9.7 points per game and Nikola Mirotic contributes 9.5 points plus 5.5 rebounds per game. Robin Lopez (9.1 points, 7.1 rebounds), Michael Carter-Williams, Rajon Rondo and Bobby Portis all are key pieces for coach Fred Hoiberg. Chicago is 29th in field goal percentage by shooting 43.2 percent from the floor. The Bulls are last in the league by splashing 6.5 threes per game and is last in the league by shooting 31.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Memphis Grizzlies Go for Fourth Win in Five Games
Memphis’s win over the Rockets Friday was a tale of two halves. The Grizzlies were down six after the opening quarter and by 13 at halftime before they got going. Memphis outscored the Rockets 59-41 in the second half, including 27-20 in the final 12 minutes to pick up the come from behind win. The Grizzlies shot 53.9 percent from the field and sank 10 of 27 three point attempts in the game. Memphis held Houston to 40.2 percent overall and just 10 of 41 from beyond the arc in the contest. The Grizzlies also enjoyed a 45-31 advantage on the glass. Tony Allen led six Memphis players in double figures with 22 points.
The Grizzlies limp into this one ranked 25th in scoring offense in the league as they average 99.5 points per game. Memphis is in the bottom half of the league on the glass, ranking 17th with 43.3 boards a night. The Grizzlies are 25th in the league in assists with 20.7 per game. Memphis stands 3rd in the league in scoring defense as they allow 98.9 points per game. Mike Conley is second on the team with 18.7 points plus 6.1 dimes per contest. Marc Gasol averages a team high 19.3 points and six rebounds per game while Zach Randolph contributes 13.7 points plus 7.9 rebounds per game in a sixth man role. James Ennis adds 8.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green, Vince Carter, Jarell Martin, Troy Daniels (10.1 points), Andrew Harrison and Tony Allen (10.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.77 steals) are key members of the Memphis rotation. The Grizzlies are last in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 42.7 percent from the floor. Memphis is 18th in the league with nine threes per game and 22nd in the league as they shoot 34.8 percent from beyond the arc.
- Bulls are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 road games
- Bulls are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 vs. Western Conference
- Grizzlies are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games playing on 1 day of rest
- Grizzlies are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 vs. NBA Central
One has to wonder how much playing the second game of a back to back will take a toll on ailing guys like Butler. The Bulls rested Wade in the second game of a back to back situation earlier this week and that could come to fruition again here. Memphis had Saturday off, giving them a day to rest and recover. That’s important when you play as physical a style as the Grizzlies do. Playing at home with the rest, you have to give Memphis the edge in this contest, especially with the uncertainty in Chicago’s rotation.
Pick: Memphis Grizzlies
Chicago has to be glad to be getting Butler and Valentine back in the mix as the rotation has been thinned out with illness. The Bulls will be happy to have Mirotic back in the fold soon as well. This is the second game of a back to back for the Bulls and their sixth in nine days. Getting bodies back is the best thing the Bulls could ask for at this point in time. Facing a Memphis team that makes every possession a grind and who are extremely physical isn’t exactly what Chicago would have wanted had their had a choice of opponents.
The under has gone 9-2-1 in the second game of Chicago’s last 12 back to backs. The under is also 21-6-2 in the Bulls’ last 29 on the road, 4-1 in their last five overall and 21-8-1 in their last 30 on the road against teams with a winning home record. Memphis has seen the under go 6-0-1 in their last seven at home against teams with a road winning percentage below .400, 7-0-1 in their last eight at home against teams with a losing road record and 18-6-2 in their last 26 at home. When Memphis is involved, you have to expect a tough defensive struggle, which keeps the game under the total.