Chicago Sun-Times

Grizzlies present challenge for Bulls

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The Bulls will host the Memphis Grizzlies at the United Center tonight in their home opener.

Along with Oklahoma City, the Grizzlies are considered one of the up-and-coming teams in the Western Conference since upsetting the Spurs in the first round of last year's playoffs. With Rudy Gay back and healthy, and the team matching an offer from the Houston Rockets to keep Marc Gasol in Memphis, optimism abounds.

"They're a tough team, they're a physical team," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Gasol and Zach Randolph in the paint make it hard. Randolph's skill-set is very tough, Gasol probably one of the most underrated bigs, and, of course, Rudy Gay can score so many different ways. And then they got a bunch of other guys that are just really tough and can play. Tony Allen is really a terrific player. He's a hard-playing guy. He can hurt you with penetration, his cuts, his defense. Then O.J. Mayo comes in and he's a terrific catch and shoot guy. They've gotten great production from Jeremy Pargo filling in for Mike Conley. Josh Selby has played well. Dante Cunningham has come in, he's a skilled guy that can shoot the ball. So, they're a deep team and they're a tough team."

The Grizzlies are 1-2 thus far.

"It's going to be a slug match," Taj Gibson said. "A lot of banging, a lot of aggressiveness. Guys just need to come out and just play hard and play sound. Listen to the game plan and hopefully everything will be OK."

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on January 1, 2012 1:47 PM.

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