Pre-Gamin’: Bulls at Suns (9:00 CT) - LaVine Out, Broadcast Info, Odds, Game Thread

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Pre-Gamin’: Bulls at Suns (9:00 CT) – LaVine Out, Broadcast Info, Odds, Game Thread

Chicago Bulls

This … won’t be easy. Yeah, let’s just leave it at that.

Broadcast Info

Chicago Bulls at Phoenix Suns – 9:00 p.m. CT NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score (audio)

Chicago Bulls

Projected Starters:

1. Tomas Satoransky
2. Patrick Williams
3. Thaddeus Young
4. Lauri Markkanen
5. Nikola Vucevic

Injury Report: Zach LaVine OUT (ankle), Coby White OUT (neck), Garrett Temple OUT (hamstring)

Phoenix Suns

Projected Starters:

1. Chris Paul
2. Devin Booker
3. Mikal Bridges
4. Jae Crowder
5. Deandre Ayton

Injury Report: Frank Kaminsky OUT (NBA Protocols), Abdel Nader OUT (knee)


The Bulls are +8 point underdogs for tonight’s matchup against the Suns, according to the FanDuel Illinois Sportsbook (+270 ML) and the DraftKings Illinois Sportsbook (+270 ML).

You can sign up for each of those books below, and get yourself a nice deposit bonus in the process.

What to Watch For …

•   For the first time all season, Zach LaVine will miss a game. The Bulls All-Star guard surely wanted to avoid this outcome with the Bulls in the midst of a playoff push, but it was more than necessary after the clear struggle he showed on the court over the last two games. The hope now is that this extra night of rest can help LaVine get in good shape by the weekend contests against the Jazz and Nets. Additionally, White will miss his second-straight game with a bad neck, and Temple will take a breather with a hamstring issue he suffered after only two minutes in the Bulls game against the Warriors. So, yeah, that’s three pretty huge absences against one of the best teams in the league.

•   With one All-Star sidelined, it’s time for the other to show just how special he can be. No, I don’t think the Bulls will walk away from this game victorious, but Vucevic is another big-time player who knows how to keep things competitive. There is no question the Bulls will look to run most of their offense through the big man, and I think that could do wonders for their overall development of this new roster. A game like this should give the supporting cast a better feel for exactly what Vooch can do, which could make it much easier to make the proper reads upon LaVine’s return. After all, most of the players that are leftover from the deadline know LaVine’s game like the back of their hand. Vooch? Not yet.

•   Lauri Markkanen is going to have to come up big tonight. With LaVine and White both sidelined, this gives him a great opportunity to remind those around the league how helpful he can be. I want to see him come out ultra-aggressive.

•   Daniel Theis looked absolutely stellar in his first appearance, providing a level of defensive intensity this team has lacked all season. I’ll be curious to see how many minutes he’ll be stacked up against the imposing Deandre Ayton, and I also wouldn’t be surprised if he flashes more of his offensive versatility due to all of the Bulls injuries.

Get Caught Up …

Author: Elias Schuster

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