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At last, Bulls back home after four-game road trip


PhilBoxing.com




THE Chicago Bulls are a tough bunch. And the only thing tougher thus far is their schedule.

Derrick Rose and company started this shortened season on a four-game road trip to hoops hotbed California, where they tangled with the Lakers and Clippers in Los Angeles, the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, and the lowly Kings of Sacramento.

The Bulls went 3-1 on that West swing, their only loss an uninspired performance against the free-wheeling, easy-go-lucky Warriors. In that 101-90 drubbing, the Bulls had a sloppy 14 first-half turnovers and trailed by as many as 19 points.

Save for that major hiccup, the Bulls have been nothing short of amazing. They beat the Lakers and Clippers convincingly at Staples Center, and they blew out the Kings out of Arco Arena, 108-98.

Although last season's Eastern Conference runners-up have established themselves as formidable road warriors, there's still no place like home.

And that's exactly where the Bulls will be today, home at the United Center, where they will host the struggling Grizzlies from Memphies. And while the Grizzlies are off to a not-so blistering 1-2 start, they are a tough cover.

Led by All-Star Zach Randolph's 19 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, the Grizzlies have a big man in the middle, 7-foot-1 Marc Gasol, and they have an exciting guard in Rudy Gay, who lights up every game with 16 points.

Memphis is a pretty good rebounding team -- 44.3 a game -- and they hold their opponents to 95.3 points a game. But the Bulls are up to the task and eager to play in front of their home crowd.

"We have a lot of confidence, but we still need to go out there and play hard. It's not gog to be an easy game. They're a hard-working team," reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose told NBA.com

With the aforementioned in fine All-Star form, averaging 20.8 points and 9.3 assists per game, the Bulls score 100.3 points per contest. And though their defense has not been consistently stellar, surrendering 96.3 points per, make no mistake, coach Tim Thibodeau's chargers can put the clamps on people when the going gets rough.

Luol Deng has raised the bar on his defensive play, while the quiet consistency of his all-around game is raising eyebrows. Deng is norming 18.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

Meanwhile, ex-Detroit Piston Rip Hamilton is easing seamlessly into his new role as the Bulls starting 2-guard, chipping in 12 per game. Power forward Carlos Boozer still hear echoes of being vastlt overpaid, but he has been solid so far, 11.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per.

The Grizzlies have size, but the Bulls have blinding speed. Memphis has a fearsome two-some in Randolph and Gasol, but the Bulls have the great equalizer in Rose.

This one should be a dandy. Tip-off is 7 pm Sunday, Chicago time, or 9 am Monday in the Philippines.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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