Bulls Weekly Preview: Trail Blazers, Kings, Lakers, Clippers – January 5-10, 2021

I’m scared.

Meet the Opponents:

•   Trail Blazers (3-3): Look, we blame our troubles on Jim Boylen. Why? Because this offseason we brought the man in for some defensive consulting, and now we hold the 28th-ranked defensive in basketball! UGH. If you never let Boylen go, we might not be in this funk, so we’re taking it out on you tonight. 

•   Sacramento Kings (3-4): Are we better than last year? No, really, I’m asking you. 

•   Los Angeles Lakers (5-2): Oh crap, we play the Bulls this week? Lemme text Bron and see if he needs some rest. 

•   Los Angeles Clippers (5-2): Don’t think we forgot about how the Bulls beat us last year when we didn’t play Kawhi Leonard. The Claw is going for 50. No cap. 

Game Times and Broadcast Info:

•   Game 1: Tuesday, January 5th – Bulls at Trail Blazers (9:30 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, NBATV, 670 The Score
•   Game 2: Wednesday, January 6th – Bulls at Kings (9:00 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
•   Game 3: Friday, January 8th – Bulls at Lakers (9:00 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
•   Game 4: Sunday, January 10th – Bulls at Clippers (3:00 CT) on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score

Bulls Roster Notes

Expected Starters:

1. Coby White
2. Zach LaVine
3. Patrick Williams
4. Lauri Markkanen
5. Wendell Carter Jr.

Unavailable/Injured: Lauri Markkanen OUT (NBA Protocol), Tomas Satoransky OUT (NBA Protocol), Chandler Hutchison (NBA Protocol), Ryan Arcidiacono (NBA Protocol)

Additional Roster Notes: n/a

Opponent Roster Notes

Trail Blazers Expected Starters:

1. Damian Lillard
2. CJ McCollum
3. Derrick Jones Jr.
4. Robert Covington
5. Jusuf Nurkic

Kings Expected Starters:

1. De’Aaron Fox
2. Buddy Hield
3. Harison Barnes
4. Marvin Bagley III
5. Richaun Holmes

Lakers Expected Starters:

1. Dennis Schroder
2. Kyle Kuzma
3. LeBron James
4. Anthony Davis
5. Marc Gasol

Clippers Expected Starters:

1. Patrick Beverley
2. Paul George
3. Kawhi Leonard
4. Nicolas Batum
5. Serge Ibaka

Unavailable/Injured:

•   Trail Blazers: Rodney Hood QUESTIONABLE (quad), Zach Collins OUT (ankle)
•   Kings: DaQuan Jeffries OUT (ankle), Tyrese Haliburton DAY-TO-DAY (wrist)
•   Lakers: Alex Caruso OUT (NBA Protocol)
•   Clippers: Derrick White OUT (toe)

What to Watch For …

Bulls: With Lauri Markkanen still sidelined due to NBA Protocols (Donovan did not rule out the possibility of him rejoining the team sometime this week), I would label Coby White as easily the most important Bulls player to keep an eye on right now. He has started his NBA point guard duties on a rather shaky note, looking comfortable in one matchup and struggling in the next. Again, I can’t blame the guy, and his stat line has certainly not been the worst over his first seven games. At the same, the Bulls need more from him, especially in this upcoming road trip. We know these young players can get sloppy and frustrated when a game start to slip away, and there is a good chance that will happen several times over the next few contests. White needs to be the on-court leader that reels things back in, and he’ll need to do that on both ends of the floor. First, White will have to counter-balance the Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum backcourt. Then, he’ll have to deal with fellow-speedster De’Aaron Fox. Afterward comes bucket-getter Dennis Schroeder – the type of former six-man White wants to prove he’s not. Lastly, a pesky Patrick Beverly awaits. Yeah, not easy.

Trail Blazers: I could try to zag here, but I’ll stick with the zig. The Lillard and McCollum duo is pretty much the worst thing for this Bulls team. Even the better defensive backcourts in the league struggle to slow these two down, so to know the Bulls have to rely mostly on White and Zach LaVine doesn’t sit too well with me. Both players have had their brief moments of improvement on the defensive end so far this season, but by no means is either ready to take on this challenge. If the Bulls somehow walk away from this game with a win, it most likely means we either saw a breakout defensive performance from White and LaVine, or the Lillard-McCollum pairing had a cold night. The other player I’d watch out for is Jusuf Nurkic. All things considered, the big man has really struggled to find his footing this season. Tonight could either be a “get-right” game for the big-man or an area to exploit for the Bulls.

Kings: I don’t know about you, but I want to see just what the Bulls passed-up in Tyrese Haliburton. Those who followed the draft storylines know that Haliburton felt like a very real option for Arturas Karnisovas on draft night. Many believed the Bulls were looking for a more traditional point guard to pair with their scoring guards, but they ultimately chose to give White his chance to run the show. Oh, and they also decided to draft Patrick Williams, who has looked very solid to start this season. Haliburton, though, has also looked more than solid. He has done what many expected and stepped into the league looking the part. Over his first five games, he averaged 10.6 points, 4.4 assists, and 2.0 rebounds. Even more impressive, he has shot 52.9 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from behind the arc. Haliburton has missed the previous two games due to a wrist injury, but there seems to be a chance he is back for tomorrow’s game against the Bulls.

Lakers: I don’t know. How many minutes do LeBron James and Anthony Davis actually play?

Clippers: How many minutes do Kawhi Leonard and Paul George actually play? I kid. Well, I don’t, but I do have another thing to watch for, and that thing is named Patrick Williams. If Billy Donovan is fine letting him try to guard Giannis Antetokounmpo, I think it’s safe to say he’ll be fine letting him guard Kawhi Leonard for a bit. Let’s see how he holds up.

written by

Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

more bulls news

The Bulls Have an Obvious Trade to Make (And It’s Not Zach LaVine)

At least the Chicago Bulls started reading the SparkNotes. While I'm still not sure this front office fully comprehends how to do their homework, Arturas Karnisovas reviewed enough to say the right things at the end-of-season press conference. He vowed...

2024 NBA Mock Draft: High Ceiling or High Floor?

The NBA Finals are just around the corner, and with the calendar about to turn to June, it's nearly NBA Draft month. Only three teams are still alive in the NBA Playoffs, which means 27 others are fully focused on...

You Have to See Michael Jordan’s Sick New Gatorade Ad

Hurry, check your faxes! Michael Jordan is back! The greatest player of all time helped an old friend re-launch a campaign this week. Jordan teamed up with Gatorade for an updated version of the "Is It In You?" ads. As...

Clippers Sign Ty Lue to New Deal, Could Paul George Be Next?

After what seemed like a long, dragged-out process, the Los Angeles Clippers have extended their head coach, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. On Wednesday, owner Steve Ballmer, President of Basketball Operation Lawrence Frank, and head coach Ty Lue were able...

What if Bronny was a Bull? Admitting Mistakes, Lonzo Ball’s Timeline, and Other Bulls Bullets

With the No. 11 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select ... Bronny James, University of Southern California. ESPN officially announced that LeBron James' son, Bronny, will forgo his college eligibility and enter the 2024 NBA Draft....

NBA Notes: Could LeBron James Leave, Philly Runs the Offseason, Porzingis Status, More

With the Celtics taking the Eastern Conference Finals in a sweep of the Indiana Pacers last night, we could be just one game away from the NBA Finals. If the Mavericks can close out the Timberwolves on Tuesday night, we'll...

REPORT: Clippers Could Emerge as Suitor for DeMar DeRozan

A path could open for DeMar DeRozan to return home this offseason. The Compton, California native is only a little over one month away from hitting unrestricted free agency. While many have speculated that DeRozan will remain with the Chicago...

Too Many Good Young Teams, A Crucial Draft Pick, Time to Tank? and Other Bulls Bullets

The Indiana Pacers made their series with Boston as competitive of a sweep as possible. Three of the four losses came in pretty gut-wrenching fashion, as the young roster simply couldn't create a big enough cushion to survive the final...

NBA Legend Bill Walton Passes Away at 71

The NBA announced on Monday afternoon that NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton has passed away. The two-time champion was 71 years old and had been battling cancer, the league shared. "Bill Walton was truly one of a kind," NBA...

Daniel Gafford’s Big Night, Who Stands in Zach LaVine’s Way? And Other Bulls Bullets

Two former Chicago Bulls are one win away from an NBA Finals appearance. Yay? Derrick Jones Jr. and Daniel Gafford have both played a big role in the Dallas Mavericks' ascent. Jones Jr. helped close out the No. 1 seeded...

Latest News

Cade Horton Leaves His I-Cubs Start With the Athletic Trainer

[ankin_law] When it's the organization's best pitching prospect - one of the best overall in the sport - and he's at Triple-A, knocking on the door of the big leagues, it is especially difficult not to freak out about any...

The Bears Have *TWO* of the NFL’s Best Offensive Tackles

Following the Chicago Bears offensive line over the years has been a bumpy ride. But perhaps we are starting to see some smooth sailing now that the current administration has made efforts to build out that part of the team....

Mariners vs. Astros: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

Logan Gilbert will take the ball for the Seattle Mariners (30-26) when they host starting pitcher Spencer Arrighetti and the Houston Astros (24-31) on Thursday, with first pitch at 4:10 PM ET.Keep reading to see how to watch the Seattle-Houston...

A DJ Moore Extension is Going to be Spicy and Pricy

DJ Moore won't be a free agent until *AFTER* the 2025 season. But it's never too early to explore a potential extension. In case you missed it, the Houston Texans signed wide receiver Nico Collins to an extension. Patrick wrote...

Enjoy Illinois 300 Odds: I’m Berry Excited about this Top 10 at Gateway

The green flag is almost here for the NASCAR Cup Series' Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway! This 300-mile thriller on the challenging 1.25-mile oval promises intense competition and strategic battles. But before the engines roar to life,...

Brewers vs. Cubs: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Milwaukee Brewers (31-23), with Colin Rea on the mound, host the Chicago Cubs (28-27) who will counter with Jameson Taillon, at 1:10 PM ET on Thursday.The article below will provide you with everything you need to watch Milwaukee take...

Twins vs. Royals: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

Chris Paddack will take the mound for the Minnesota Twins (30-24) when they host starting pitcher Brady Singer and the Kansas City Royals (34-22) on Thursday, with first pitch at 1:10 PM ET.Find out how to watch the Minnesota-Kansas City...

Best MLB Prop Bets Today, May 29, 2024

The MLB's 16-game schedule today should provide some fireworks. The matchups include the Boston Red Sox playing the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.MLB prop bets for today's games are available, so if you're interested in placing a...

Wednesday’s WNBA Picks and Predictions – May 29

Today's WNBA slate has three quality competitions on the docket. Among those games is the Las Vegas Aces playing the Minnesota Lynx.Below you'll discover WNBA picks and predictions for each and every contest on today's slate.WNBA picks todayAtlanta Dream at...

Toronto Raptors 2024 NBA Mock Draft: Ware To Begin

Toronto Raptors 2024 NBA Mock Draft - The NBA is changing it up this year with a revamped draft format for the 2024 season. This year's 78th annual draft will be spread over two nights, a first since the league standardized the draft to two...

more bulls news