Bulls-Grizzlies Preview


The Memphis Grizzlies' attempt at a season-high third straight win will come against a team that handed them one of their most lopsided defeats in franchise history earlier this month.

The league-best Chicago Bulls will also try to match their longest win streak this season and record consecutive victories in Memphis for the first time Monday.

After dropping the opener of a four-game homestand, the Grizzlies (5-6) bounced back with wins over New York and New Orleans. In the latter victory, Memphis had one of its best scoring performances of the season and needed that to keep from blowing a 17-point lead in a 108-99 victory over the Hornets.

"That's what we've got to do," guard Mike Conley said. "That's what we got better at last season. Teams make runs in the third and fourth quarter, and you've got to be able to withstand those runs."

Rudy Gay had a team-best 23 points, his second straight 20-point game. Marc Gasol had a season-high third consecutive double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds, his eighth straight game with at least 10.

Neither player was effective during in a 104-64 shellacking by the Bulls (12-2) on Jan. 1. That 40-point blowout was nine shy of matching the worst in franchise history.

Adding to that pain, the Grizzlies lost All-Star forward Zach Randolph for six to eight weeks to a knee injury.

Ronnie Brewer scored a season-high 17 points for Chicago in that win, and Carlos Boozer had 17 and 11 rebounds. Boozer had another 17 points and 13 boards during a 77-64 victory over Toronto on Saturday, and Derrick Rose led the way with 18 points and 11 assists.

Taj Gibson scored nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bulls pull away for their fifth straight win.

"We have the mindset no matter how many minutes you play, no matter how many touches you get, no one should play harder than you," Gibson told the team's website. "You're supposed to lay it on line no matter what."

Rose recorded his only career triple-double during a 96-84 victory in Memphis on Jan. 17 - which snapped a five-game skid there - and has scored at least 20 points in four of his six career matchups. Luol Deng has topped 20 in three of his last four versus the Grizzlies but was held to 11 on 4-of-12 shooting during the Jan. 1 win.

Deng will try to help the Bulls to their third straight road victory and eighth in 10 games overall. Chicago is among the league leaders in averaging 98.9 points away from home but is giving up 93.2 per game there compared with 66.8 at home.

The Bulls could get some help in that attempt if reserve guard C.J. Watson can return from a strained left elbow that's kept him out since the win over Memphis. Veteran guard Richard Hamilton hasn't played in the last seven games because of a sore left groin.

With Monday's game, the Chicago Bulls will become the league's first team to play 15 games over a 23-day stretch. The Los Angeles Lakers will match the Bulls later that night when they face Dallas.

Chicago's current three-game win streak in the series is its longest since winning the first seven matchups from Nov. 30, 1995-April 4, 1999. The Bulls also won their first three games in Vancouver before going 1-10 over the next 11 road games against that franchise.