The NBA regular season may always be a fickle beast , but it's true even moreso than usual this year thanks to the league's lockout-shortened schedule. Case in point: the Chicago Bulls beat the Memphis Grizzlies by 40 points on New Year's Day just two weeks ago. In another holiday game against the same team yesterday afternoon, the Bulls lost by 102-86.
The NBA, of course, is a league of stars, and there's one MVP-sized difference between the teams' first two games: Chicago was without star guard Derrick Rose yesterday, who was resting a toe injury. Rose remains uncertain for tonight's game against the Phoenix Suns. If he can't go, you can bet coach Tom Thibodeau will be on his team not to put forth a second consecutive lackadaisical effort without Rose.
Chicago was torched in Memphis, showing zero cohesion with its star point guard. Their defensive rotations were atypically a step slow, they went just 1-for-12 from three-point range, and starting center Joakim Noah finished with just two points and five rebounds. All of that is unexpected for what entered as the NBA's best team. A game against the 4-8 Suns should be just what the doctor ordered for Thibodeau's squad.