The Chicago Bulls, donning their fresh looking green St. Paddy’s Day uniforms, played host to the Memphis Grizzlies at the United Center this evening. Per usual, the Bulls suffered a loss, being defeated 91-98.
Like usual Zach Randolph continues to destroy the Bulls in the post, getting his hands on every ball, and often causing the Bulls to lose the ball out of bounds on their own accord. Mike Conley torched Rajon Rondo all game dropping a game-high 27 points on only 12 FGA. The Bulls stayed with them however, and had a late game surge where Nikola Mirotic, Denzel Valentine, and Rondo all combined to hit 5 straight threes. However,it was Marc Gasol’s two threes and a wide open pass by Conley to Tony Allen due to a defensive miscue by Valentine that led to the demise in the final two minutes of the game.
Dwyane Wade sprained his elbow in Wednesday night’s game. He will have an MRI tomorrow. Hopefully it’s nothing serious.
The Bulls, now falling to 32-36, are looking really bleak in terms of playoff hopes. They have 14 games left and it is predicted, must win 10 to even have a chance at a playoff spot. The only bright spots in this game were the continued success of Rondo and Mirotic, and Valentine’s confidence in his three point game. Rondo, since earning back a more valid role, has seen a huge uptick in both his PPG and APG. Stacey King noted earlier in the game that Rondo is playing extremely well when since regaining the starting job. He owns the court and plays like a true floor general however, his defense is something to work on. Mirotic as of late is torching teams with his three point shooting ability that he has shown sparks of time and time again. I know he will most likely go cold soon so at least he is good for now. He missed a three late and got the ball back, took the same three, and buried it, showing he may have a new, increased confidence in his shot which can only lead to more makes. Denzel Valentine is really turning out to be a great player. His defensive awareness is sloppy, but his offensive mindset and shooting ability has been over the league average at the moment. He may shape up into a really good player come next season and it is good to see him get more playing time.
The negatives of the game and overall day are much more significant. Again, we see Fred Hoiberg’s inability to find correct rotations and get an actual offense going. He threw Dwayne Wade in primarily with the bench today and played Jimmy with Michael Carter-Williams, who has terrible offensive upside. Two top-tier defensive on ball guards do not bode well coming down the stretch when you need to put points on the board, and Fred needs to realize that he needs to change his rotations and plan if the Bulls want to remain in games. Cameron Payne sat out tonight due to his nagging foot injury, but it was more a day of rest than anything. My last key note that I found interesting was Jerian Grant’s absence on the court. Grant was the key young piece in the Derrick Rose deal, and now has gone from a starting role to two straight DNPs. And the way I see it is Hoiberg as no clue how to handle his rotation.
Another day, another set of woes.