Uh oh, this could get ugly.
We’re Going Streaking:
- Chicago Bulls (13-20): Thanks to splitting last week’s contests against the Magic and Hawks, the Bulls will finish the month of December .500 or better. As of late, the Bulls have proven they can get the job done against weaker opponents. Although, when the stakes ramp up (the Magic game was a battle for the 8th seed), the Bulls have continued to be a disappointment. Can that change this week with a quality win?
- Milwaukee Bucks (29-5): On Christmas, the 76ers handed the Bucks a rare loss, but otherwise, Milwaukee has been just as strong as ever. Giannis or no Giannis, this squad is top-notch.
- Utah Jazz (20-12): The Jazz have been a bit underwhelming this season but have won seven of their last eight games (the one loss coming to the Miami Heat, 107-104). Donovan Mitchell is starting to look like his old self, and the team, as a whole, is reminding the Western Conference they’re no joke.
- Boston Celtics (22-8): The Celtics might even be better than expected. Kemba Walker has clicked effortlessly alongside Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. The team may have lost their last game 113-97 to the Raptors, but they also beat Toronto earlier in the week 118-102.
Game Times and Broadcast Info:
- Game 1: Monday, December 30th – Bucks at Bulls (7:00 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
- Game 2: Thursday, January 2nd – Jazz at Bulls (7:00 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
- Game 3: Saturday, January 4th – Celtics at Bulls (7:00 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
Chicago Bulls Roster Notes:
- Tomas Satoransky
- Zach LaVine
- Kris Dunn
- Lauri Markkanen
- Wendell Carter Jr.
Unavailable/Injured: Otto Porter OUT (foot)
Additional Roster Notes: Chandler Hutchison, who has missed the last 14 games of the season with a shoulder injury, is currently listed as questionable for tonight’s game. Lauri Markkanen is also questionable with an illness, however, considering he played through illness last game, it feels likely he’ll be on the court tonight. As for Tomas Satoranky, he is listed on the injury report as probable due to a sore ankle.
Opponents’ Roster Notes:
- Bucks: Wesley Matthews OUT (thigh contusion)
- Star-player Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the Bucks previous two games with back soreness but was taken off the injury report on Monday. Eric Bledsoe (leg) is also available for the first time in 8 games tonight.
- Jazz: Mike Conley OUT (hamstring)
- Other than Conley, Utah is one healthy squad.
- Celtics: Robert Williams III OUT (hip), Vincent Poirier OUT (finger)
- The Celtics aren’t missing any of their players who clock big minutes. However, Jaylen Brown is currently listed as day-to-day with an illness and Marcus Smart (eye) missed eight-straight games before playing in Sunday’s game against the Raptors.
Keep An Eye Out For …
Bulls: If the season ended today, Tomas Satoransky would be averaging double-digit points per game for the first time in his career. All things considered, Satoransky has been exactly what this Bulls team needs over the last five games. Playing more aggressively, he’s helping the offense flow with 15.0 points per game plus 7.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists. On top of that, he’s been playing solid defense, averaging 2.0 steals per game. My love for him as a player has been evident ever since the Bulls grabbed him this offseason, and while we got a glimpse of his special talents earlier this year, we’re starting to get the full look now. With that being said, he still has to prove he can continue to do this against some of the league’s best teams.
Bucks: The Greek Freak is ready to feast. Giannis Antetokounmpo has sat out the Bucks last two games with a back injury but is listed as available tonight. The former MVP has never missed three-games in a row throughout his entire career, and it’s safe to assume he fought to get back on the floor to make sure that streak wasn’t going to be broken. Itching to get back on the court, Antetokounmpo could be looking for a dominant performance. Not to mention, the last game he did play in was a loss to the 76ers on Christmas Day. Giannis is always a player to worry about, but a rested, hungry Giannis is a player to be terrified of.
Jazz: While Donovan Mitchell has found his groove, nobody could hurt this Bulls team more than Rudy Gobert. The back-to-back defensive player of the year will stop the Bulls scoring attack right in their tracks. The Bulls score 44.2 percent of their points in the paint (the 9th-highest in the NBA), but Gobert is one of the best rim-protectors in the game. Oh, and he’s also third in rebounds per game with 14.1. Good luck, Wendell Carter Jr!
Celtics: Expect the Bulls to have some trouble containing Jaylen Brown. Kris Dunn will have his hands full on Kemba Walker, meaning Tomas Satoransky or Zach LaVine will have to stay in front of the athletic Brown. Over the last six games, Brown has averaged 24.5 points per game with 7.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He can do a little bit of everything for this Celtics team, and if the team’s other stars are preoccupied, he can fully take over.