An interesting week.
We’re Going Streaking:
- Chicago Bulls (13-23): The tough-stretch of the season has finally begun. Last week, the Bulls lost to the Bucks, Jazz, and Celtics to create a three-game losing streak for the fifth time this season. Chicago competed and kept things close over their last two games, but moral victories don’t show up in the standings.
- Dallas Mavericks (22-13): Surprisingly, the Mavericks are only 1-3 over their last four games, with losses to the Hornets, Thunder, and Lakers. The absence of Kristaps Prozingis over the last three games has certainly played a role, but it’s been a rough stretch for Luka Doncic and Co. The Mavericks are beatable, teams like the Kings and Knicks have proven that, but the Bulls need to bring their A-game.
- New Orleans Pelicans (12-24): The Pelicans might be playing their best basketball yet. Over the last six games, New Orleans holds a record of 5-1, with wins over Denver, Indiana, and Houston. Brandon Ingram has continued to play great basketball alongside a nice emergence from Lonzo Ball (currently riding three-straight 20-point performances). The bottom of the Western Conference is just as muddy as the East. With a Zion Williamson return right around the corner, can the Pels make things interesting?
- Indiana Pacers (22-14): The Pacers are hurting. Last week, Indiana lost to the Atlanta Hawks in probably a new season-low. To give the team the benefit of the doubt, they have had a tough schedule as of late. If they can get Brogdon back on the court, they should stay right in the middle of the Eastern Conference.
- Detroit Pistons (13-24): The Pistons have won two games over their last 11. I think you know enough about them by now. The Bulls will be going for the season sweep on Saturday.
Game Times and Broadcast Info:
- Game 1: Monday, January 6th – Bulls at Mavericks (7:30 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
- Game 2: Wednesday, January 8th – Bulls at Pelicans (7:00 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
- Game 3: Friday, January 10th – Pacers at Bulls (7:00 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
- Game 4: Saturday, January 11th – Bulls at Pistons (6:00 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: Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter Jr., Ryan Arcidiacono, and Adam Mokoka are all listed on the injury report with minor issues, but all should be good to go. Lauri Markkanen sprained his ankle during Saturday’s game against the Boston Celtics. Markkanen first appeared on the injury report as doubtful for Monday night’s game against the Mavericks, but he was upgraded to questionable Monday morning. After missing the last 17 games, Chandler Hutchison could see some action.
Read more here:
Lauri Markkanen Went From Doubtful to Questionable, Hutchison Finally Activehttps://t.co/IuPU2WKOFs
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 6, 2020
Opponents’ Roster Notes:
- Mavericks: Kristaps Prozingis OUT (knee), Ryan Broekhoff OUT (fibula),
- Tim Hardaway Jr. has missed the Mav’s last three games with a hamstring injury but has been upgraded to questionable for tonight’s matchup.
- Pelicans: Zion Williamson OUT (knee)
- Jrue Holiday is currently day-to-day with an elbow injury and is out for Monday night’s game against the Jazz. Williamson is considered out for now, but he’s on the verge of making his NBA debut. It would make the most sense for the Pelicans to have Williamson make his debut at home, so keep an eye on Wednesday.
- Pacers: Victor Oladipo OUT (knee), Malcolm Brogdon OUT (back), Naz Mitrou-Long (ankle)
- TJ McConnell is currently day-to-day with an ankle injury but has not missed any games. Brogdon is missing Monday night’s game against Charlotte, but his injury doesn’t appear too severe. I’d expect him to be back by this weekend.
- Pistons: Blake Griffin OUT (knee), Markeiff Morris OUT (foot), Luke Kennard OUT (knee), Reggie Jackson OUT (foot)
- News broke Monday that Blake Griffin could be considering season-ending knee surgery (he’s missed the last four games). Meanwhile, the rest of the roster remains pretty banged-up. Morris and Kennard are both dealing with lingering injury issues but could be back by this weekend.
Keep An Eye Out For …
Bulls: As the Bulls competition has gotten harder, Wendell Carter Jr. has gotten better. Over the Bulls last three games against the Bucks, Jazz, and Celtics, Carter Jr. has recorded three-straight double-double performances and has played some of his best basketball of the season. He has been able to limit the fouls and stay on the court for just over 35 minutes in the past two games. His performance against Jazz center Rudy Gobert proved to be especially encouraging for the 20-year-old, topping the two-time defensive player of the year in points and rebounds. On the season, he’s tied for 15th in the league with 17 double-doubles, and he’s got a nice opportunity to move up the leaderboards this week. His first two matchups should be favorably before going into battle against the Pacers frontcourt duo of Myles Turner/Domantas Sabonis and the Pistons Andre Drummond.
Mavericks: No one can stop Luka Doncic. The Dallas Mavericks second-year star is making his case for the MVP award this season, and considering the Mavs have three of their last four, I think he’ll be ready for a win. Kris Dunn has done a good job guarding some of the league’s best this season, but stopping Doncic will be a whole different challenge. Averaging 35 points over his last three games, I think it’s safe to say he’s in store for another 30+ point performance.
Pelicans: Brandon Ingram is good, but Lonzo Ball is playing much-improved basketball. Over the Pelicans’ last three games, Ball has scored 27, 23, and 24 points, respectively. He also dished out double-digit assist totals in two of those games. I’m not sure what’s gotten into him, but right now he’s playing like an all-around threat. Ball is hitting 3’s at a decent rate and facilitating like a true traditional point guard. Chances are the only player in the Bulls backcourt that can slow him down is Kris Dunn, but are the Bulls going to play him on Ingram or Jrue Holiday? If Satoransky or LaVine has to guard Ball, expect a big day from the 22-year-old.
Pacers: The last time the Bulls played the Pacers, they didn’t have to worry about Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis (and still lost). The frontcourt duo should be a big test for Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen. We all know the Bulls can struggle in the rebounding department at times, and that’s an area both Turner and Sabonis can exploit. Carter Jr., specifically, is going to have to try his best to stay out of foul trouble so he can protect the rim.
Pistons: Derrick Rose and Andre Drummond. Those two are the only thing the Pistons have going for them right now.