Good morning to everyone but the Chicago Bulls.
- Cross your fingers, and hope for a quick return. Marcus Smart came down hard on Lauri Markkanen’s ankle in the 4th quarter of last night’s game. The Finnisher returned to the bench and tried to walk it off, but according to sources, Markkanen is dealing with a sprained ankle.
Initial examination shows Lauri Markkanen suffered sprained left ankle, per source. Bulls at Mavericks Monday. Markkanen’s playing status updated later today.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 5, 2020
- As of now, we have no clear idea of how long this could keep him out. If we do know one thing, the Bulls haven’t been very forthcoming with expected return times on injuries, so let’s hope if Markkanen does have to miss some time, we can get an immediate estimate. Markkanen has been finally playing like their second-best player as of late, and the Bulls can’t afford to lose the big man for an extended period of time during this brutal month of January.
- In other news, the Bulls locker room continues to be a passive-aggressive lunchroom. The players sit comfortably at one table while Jim Boylen sits foolishly at another. Zach LaVine and Thaddeus Young didn’t take any direct shots at their head coach, but some of their quotes after last night’s loss taste a bit sour.
- Regarding the Celtics, LaVine told The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry: “They play to their guys’ strength They have three or four guys that play isolation basketball, that can shoot midrange and midpost with Jayson, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward. They’ve got isolation players. They take advantage of that.”
- Thaddeus Young said: “I think when you start shifting guys, it throws a lot of different things off with what we do as a team. This is very unusual territory when you start moving guys in and out of the lineup and stuff like that. It’s one of those things that we just have to continue to figure out as we go.”
- The other day, the Bulls players shared a wide range of answers when asked what’s plaguing this team on the court, however, I think most (if not all) of the players can agree what’s plaguing this team most isn’t on the court at all. Boylen stands on the sideline with a recklessly bullish demeanor. He left his team with no timeouts in the final 4:09 minutes of the game and goes from playing a 10-man rotation first half in one night to an 8-man rotation the next – winging his in-game management on the daily.
- When 3rd quarter woes and 4th quarter collapses become a habit, it’s up to the head coach to fix it. Now, Boylen is right about something in every postgame, his players are fighting to stay competitive, but what about him? The Bulls are providing NBA teams across the league a textbook example for why a competent head coach is needed to truly succeed, no matter the talent.
- Uh, why are you prepared to not have them!? This isn’t football!
Jim Boylen said he used two timeouts in 3rd because he didn't like team's lack of energy. Had to burn his last one with 4:09 left for injured Markkanen. "We practice to not have timeouts. I'm not in fear mode that we don't have timeouts because we're prepared to not have them."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 5, 2020
- (Michael: Also, it isn’t all about conditioning. It’s about strategy. Momentum. Planning. God that is a terrible quote.)
- Number *twitches* Seven *twitches*
— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) January 5, 2020
- The Bulls will play another short-handed opponent tomorrow with Kristaps Prozingis out for the Mavericks. However, depending on Markkanen’s status, they’ll likely be short-handed as well.
Kristaps Porzingis (knee) said he doesn't expect to play Monday against the Bulls "but hopefully [will play] the game after that," Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News reports. ( Monday 7:15 pre @670TheScore )
— chuck swirsky (@ctsbulls) January 5, 2020
- Live or die by the 3 (but mostly die).
39% from three has been the magic number for the Bulls this season:
39% or better:
Bulls: 11-3 (.786)
Rest of League: 236-116 (.670)
Bulls: 2-20 (.091)
Rest of League: 284-394 (.419)
— Jeff Mangurten (@JeffGurt) January 5, 2020
- On a happy note, Wendell Carter Jr. is playing big boy basketball.