Weekly Preview: Magic, Heat, Celtics – March 12-15, 2020

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Weekly Preview: Magic, Heat, Celtics – March 12-15, 2020

Chicago Bulls

Hi, so I’m dumb and forgot to do this yesterday when the Bulls played the Cavaliers (I was too focused on Coby White’s first start, Coronavirus, and The Bachelor). However, the Bulls still have three more games this week, so let’s do a little preview!

We’re Going Streaking:

  • The Chicago Bulls (22-43) have won only three of their last 16 games. The season has shifted completely toward development, which has been highlighted by the Jim Boylen finally deciding to insert Coby White into the starting lineup.
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers (19-46) currently hold the second-worst record in the NBA at 19-46. However, the team did pick up two-straight wins over the Nuggets and Spurs before dropping last night’s game to the Bulls 108-103.
  • The Orlando Magic (30-35) sit comfortably with the 8-spot in the Eastern Conference. Of course, anything can change over these last several weeks, but the Magic – winners of three-straight – seem to be doing just enough to stay in the playoff picture.
  • The Miami Heat (41-23) are pretty darn good. While the team isn’t nearly as hot as the beginning of the season, they still find themselves hanging around the top of the conference. If they want to put together a playoff run though, they’ll have to figure out how to improve their 14-19 record on the road.
  • The Boston Celtics (43-21) have Jayson Tatum and every other team doesn’t. The 22-year-old has completely broken out over the last month or so, averaging 29.2 points per game since February 1st. With that said, the Celtics have still lost four of their last six games.

Game Times and Broadcast Info:

  • Game 2: Thursday, March 12th – Bulls at Magic (6:00 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
  • Game 3: Saturday, March 14th – Bulls at Heat (7:00 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
  • Game 4: Sunday, March 15th – Celtics at Bulls (7:00 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score

Chicago Bulls Roster Notes:

Expected Starters:

  1. Coby White
  2. Denzel Valentine
  3. Shaquille Harrison
  4. Lauri Markkanen
  5. Wendell Carter Jr.

Unavailable/Injured: Chandler Hutchison OUT (shoulder), Zach LaVine OUT (quad), Luke Kornet OUT (ankle), Kris Dunn OUT (knee), Ryan Arcidiacono OUT (Achillies)

Additional Roster Notes: Zach LaVine is working his way back to the court from a quad injury, and while he’s listed out, for now, he did tell reporters he plans to return “sometime in the next week.” To this point, LaVine has missed five-straight games after playing in all of the first 60 games of the season. Meanwhile, Ryan Arcidiacono has missed the last three games with a sore Achilles but seems to be nearing a return. The most unfortunate news is that Chandler Hutchison is now officially out for the season and will undergo surgery on his right shoulder.

Opponents’ Roster Notes:

Unavailable/Injured:

  • Magic: Evan Fournier OUT (elbow), Al-Farouq Aminu OUT (knee), Jonathan Isaac OUT (knee)
  • Heat: Meyers Leonard OUT (ankle), Tyler Herro OUT (foot)
    • Most players on this Heat team are dealing with some kind of injury. Herro, who has missed the last 15 games, did practice this week, but there is no indication he’ll return by this weekend’s game against Chicago. Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler (toe), Kendrick Nunn (illness), Jae Crowder (concussion), and Udonis Haslem (illness) are all day-to-day. Crowder is considered probable for the Heats game Wednesday night, but the other folks didn’t practice Tuesday and seem to be questionable.
  • Celtics: Jaylen Brown OUT (hamstring)
    • Kemba Walker is currently day-to-day with a hand injury but chances are he’ll be on the court for Sunday’s game against the Bulls. Brown has been ruled out of Boston’s matchup with Milwaukee on Thursday already, so his status is up in the air.

Keep An Eye Out For …

Bulls: It’s time to keep a close eye on all the members of the Bulls’ young core. With Zach LaVine still sidelined, that specifically means Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., and Coby White for now. All three started together for the first time last night against the Cavaliers and pulled off a 108-103 victory thanks to an extremely balanced scoring effort. The trio combined for 52 points, and while each had their own set of flaws, that all-around performance was encouraging. A lot of the pressure to keep this up will fall on Coby White, who’s now tasked with becoming this team’s main facilitator. Last night, he dished out 5 assists, but also play pretty sloppy with 9 turnovers. Moving forward, he’ll have to continue to focus on sharing the basketball and better defining his role. The backend of this week’s stretch should be a nice challenge.

Magic: Over the last 5 games, Nikola Vucevic has been on a roll. The big man is averaging 23 points and 13 rebounds per game. He’s also shooting 53.4 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from downtown. Oh, AND he’s averaging 4.6 assists per game. Vucevic is a double-double machine who could easily sway this game in the Magic’s direction by himself. Wendell Carter Jr. has struggled a bit since returning from his ankle injury, and controlling Vucevic will certainly be a challenge. The last time these two teams played, Carter Jr. was able to win the rebounding battle 10-7, but he failed to stop the big man from scoring (20 points).

Heat: Coby White will have to watch out for Kendrick Nunn. A fellow rookie, Nunn hasn’t necessarily lit up the stat sheet over these last couple of games, but he’s certainly had his success this season and against the Chicago Bulls. In the team’s first two matchups, Nunn scored 21 and 18 respectively. With all the hype White has been getting over the last month (in Nunn’s hometown, nonetheless), I’m sure Nunn will come into this matchup with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Also, Duncan Robinson has hit seven or more 3’s in the consecutive games … so the entire Bulls team needs to guard that man when he’s behind the arc.

Celtics: Jayson Tatum. Over the last 10 games, he has averaged 30.8 points per game and is shooting 48 percent from the field and 47 percent from behind the arc. Enough said.



Author: Elias Schuster

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