This game is very important for one reason and maybe a couple smaller ones. The biggest reason is the fact that St. Louis doesn’t have a basketball team and both of these squads are of equal distance from St. Louis. Which means these two teams consistently battle for the fan base in St. Louis.
Some people tend to think that it doesn’t matter to the people in St. Louis. I can see this being the case for the preseason because their beloved Cardinals usually find themselves in the MLB postseason. However, after the MLB season concludes, the sports fans of St. Louis have to turn their attention elsewhere. Now I can’t speak for the people of St. Louis, but I think that some turn their attention to the Grizzlies and some to the Bulls. There’s another team that enters into the equation as a possible wild card, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Some people may even skip the whole NBA thing and turn their attention to the NHL and the St. Louis Blues.
There are many reasons to cheer for all three of these teams and I think that the fan bases are relatively even, although I cannot be for sure.
The Bulls will come into this game with one game under their belt, which they won. It was an 82-76 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Derrick Rose’s return to action. Rose played 20 minutes in the game and had 13 points and 3 assists. He said after the game that his knee “felt great.” I thought he looked great as well, obviously it will take time to get back to normal, but you could see some shades of the old Derrick Rose throughout the game.
For the Grizzlies, this will be their first game of the preseason. The Grizz ended last year as the best defensive team in the league in terms of points allowed and were able to keep the same core of players with Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Mike Conley Jr. Quincy Pondexter figures to add into the equation if he is able to be healthy. Sharpshooter Mike Miller was also added in free agency after leaving Miami.
These teams are pretty evenly matched and it should be a good basketball game. The Grizzlies are coming off a season in which they made it to the Western Conference Finals after defeating the Russell Westbrook-less Oklahoma City Thunder. The Bulls are coming off a season in which they were bounced in the second round by the eventual World Champion Miami Heat.
With Derrick Rose back who knows where the Bulls will end up this year, but I can tell you one thing. It’s good to have him back.