Weekly Preview: Spurs, Pacers, Nets, Raptors – January 27 – February 2, 2020

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Weekly Preview: Spurs, Pacers, Nets, Raptors – January 27 – February 2, 2020

Chicago Bulls

Back and forth week.

We’re Going Streaking:

  • Chicago Bulls (18-30): The Chicago Bulls split last week’s games and are (somehow) 5-5 over their last 10 matchups. The team might be only 2.5 games back from the 8th-seed, but with no Lauri Markkanen for at least a month (not to mention Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford, Otto Porter Jr., etc.), this season continues to feel unsalvageable at best.
  • San Antonio Spurs (20-25): Similar to the Bulls, the Spurs sit in the 9th-seed in their respective conference. The team split its four matchups last week and relies heavily on the scoring ability of one player (for San Antonio it’s DeMar DeRozan).
  • Indiana Pacers (30-17): The Bulls have seen the Pacers twice this season and have dropped both games. The Pacers continue to struggle with some inconsistencies, but with the return of Victor Oladipo right around the corner, the team is only going to get better.
  • Brooklyn Nets (19-26): Brooklyn has lost seven of their last eight games (including a loss to the Knicks), which isn’t a great sign. Even with Kyrie Irving’s return, this team is struggling to stay in the playoff picture.
  • Toronto Raptors (32-14): The Raptors are second in the East and Pascal Siakam is an All-Star starter. In other words, they’re very good.

Game Times and Broadcast Info:

  • Game 1: Monday, January 27th – Spurs at Bulls (7:00 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
  • Game 2: Wednesday, January 29th – Bulls at Pacers (6:00 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
  • Game 3: Friday, January 31st – Bulls at Nets (6:30 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
  • Game 4: Sunday, February 2nd – Bulls at Raptors (2:00 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score

Chicago Bulls Roster Notes:

Expected Starters:

  1. Tomas Satoransky
  2. Zach LaVine
  3. Kris Dunn
  4. Thaddeus Young
  5. Luke Kornet

Unavailable/Injured: Otto Porter OUT (foot), Wendell Carter Jr. OUT (ankle), Daniel Gafford OUT (thumb), Lauri Markkanen OUT (pelvis)

Additional Roster Notes: Ryan Arcidiacono, Tomas Satoransky, and Chandler Hutchison are all listed as day-to-day with minor injuries. All three are probable for tonight’s game. Lauri Markkanen is the newest player to join the Bulls list of long-term injuries. An MRI showed an early stress reaction in Markkanen’s pelvis, and the Bulls will sideline him for 4-6 weeks. Meanwhile, Otto Porter appears to be doing some new mobility exercises.

Opponents’ Roster Notes:

Unavailable/Injured:

  • Spurs: LaMarcus Aldridge OUT (thumb)
    • Aldridge is technically listed as day-to-day, but the Spurs announced he would miss tonight’s performance with a right thumb sprain Monday morning. Everyone else on the Spurs roster is healthy, but considering their limited frontcourt presence, this could be a favorable absence for the Bulls.
  • Pacers: Naz Mitrou-Long OUT (ankle)
    • Pacers star Malcolm Brogdon has missed the last two games with a concussion but is currently listed as day-to-day. Myles Turner missed the Pacers’ last game due to illness, but he should be good to go moving forward. Victor Oladipo, who hasn’t played since January 23rd, 2019 due to a knee injury, is set to make his season debut on the 29th against the Chicago Bulls.
  • Nets: Kevin Durant OUT (Achillies), DeAndre Jordan OUT (finger)
    • Kyrie Irving didn’t play in Brookyln’s last game due to personal reasons.
  • Raptors: Dewan Hernandez OUT (ankle), Patrick McCaw OUT (face)
    • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson left the Raptors game this weekend with an ankle injury and is currently day-to-day.

Keep An Eye Out For …

Bulls: Next man up must be said a lot in the Bulls locker room. With Lauri Markkanen on the bench for the weeks to come, Thaddeus Young will play a vital role for the team moving forward. However, the Bulls path toward any success during this upcoming stretch might rest more on the shoulders of a player like Tomas Satoransky. The Bulls’ biggest problem all season has been on the offensive end. While Markkanen was having a down year, he was still viewed as one of the team’s more dependable offensive weapons. Satoransky showed last game that if he’s aggressive enough, he can help fill at least some of the holes (19 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds against the Cavaliers). Earlier this season he had a career-long stretch with six games in double figures, and if the Bulls want to stay competitive, he’ll have to tap into that potential once again.

Spurs: With no LaMarcus Aldridge on the court, this Bulls’ attention should turn directly toward DeMar DeRozan. The Spurs’ most versatile scorer, DeRozan can impact the game across the court. He’s cooled down over the last five games or so, but before that, he reminded everyone of his All-Star status with a 10-game stretch where he averaged 28 points per game. Kris Dunn may be able to help slow him down, but if DeRozan gets in a rhythm, the Bulls could have a hard time keeping up.

Pacers: As it stands, the Bulls will be the first team to see Victor Oladipo this season. While it’s likely he’ll be on a minutes restriction of some kind, Oladipo is just another weapon for this Pacers team to attack the Bulls with. Chicago has struggled in both matchups against this unit’s frontcourt, and the more attention they pay to slow down the Pacers’ bigs, the more of an opportunity Oladipo will have to carve-up the Bulls defense. It’s hard to envision the first game back for a guy who hasn’t played in over a year to be a big one, but knowing Bulls basketball, they’ll likely find a way to make it happen.

Nets: Look out for a Spencer Dinwiddie revenge game! The last time these two teams met, Dinwiddie dropped 24 points to help the Nets grab a six-point victory. The return of Kyrie Irving has expectedly caused Dinwiddie’s numbers to take a hit, but the point guard is still very capable of successfully managing a game. He’s come up in the clutch for the Nets before, and with Kris Dunn trying to lockdown Kyrie Irving, Dinwiddie should have an opportunity to exploit his weaker matchup. With how the Nets have been playing, it feels like the Bulls can win this game. But if Dinwiddie steps up, the Nets will likely be too much to handle.

Raptors: With Luke Kornet and Cristiano Felicio still holding down the fort underneath the basket, Marc Gasol could be a real difference-maker. The veteran center has been key in helping the Raptors win seven-straight games. He may not be the most reliable scorer or even the most aggressive rebounder, but his experience should be more than enough to control the paint all night long.



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is a writer for Bleacher Nation and a human being. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.