Pre-Gamin’: Nuggets at Bulls (7:00 CT) — Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

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Pre-Gamin’: Nuggets at Bulls (7:00 CT) — Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Chicago Bulls

Why have one gut-punch when you can have two!

Not only has DeMar DeRozan entered the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols, but we learned before tonight’s game that Alex Caruso will miss at least a week with a hamstring injury. Fortunately, the Bulls’ top defensive player is not said to be experiencing anything serious, but there is no question his absence feels all the more significant with three other rotation players already on the injury report.

If we thought the Bulls were tested before, this week will be an entirely new challenge.

Game Info

Denver Nuggets at Chicago Bulls – 7:00 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV), and 670 The Score (Radio)

Stream the game online here with your cable provider.

Projected Starters

Chicago Bulls

1. Lonzo Ball
2. Zach LaVine
3. Ayo Dosunmu
4. Derrick Jones Jr.
5. Nikola Vucevic

Injury Report: DeMar DeRozan OUT (H&S P’s), Patrick Williams OUT (Wrist), Coby White OUT (H&S P’s), Javonte Green OUT (H&S P’s), Alex Caruso DOUBTFUL (hamstring)

Denver Nuggets

1. Monte Morris
2. Will Barton
3. Aaron Gordon
4. Jeff Green
5. Nikola Jokic

Injury report: Michael Porter Jr. OUT (back), P.J. Dozier OUT (knee), Jamal Murray OUT (knee), Bol Bol OUT (H&S P’s), Bones Hyland (H&S P’s), Austin Rivers (H&S P’s)

What to Watch For …

•   The good news for Chicago is that even with four players sidelined, two All-Star-caliber talents remain in the starting lineup. Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic will have to channel some of that two-man game chemistry they built at the end of last season. We both know each has enough offensive firepower to keep this team competitive, but the question is whether or not they can find a way to adjust on the fly to life without DeRozan. With that in mind, I’ll be curious to see if the Bulls slow things down at all to play even more to Vucevic’s strengths. No DeRozan means Vucevic is going to have to get up that many more shots, and handing the big man more post-up opportunities might be the way to get that done. After all, the removal of White, Green, Caruso, and DeRozan will certainly impact the Bulls’ success in transition and eliminate some fastbreak opportunities.

•   While Denver is not particularly elite on the offensive end – they currently hold just the 17th-ranked offensive rating – they have a good chance to sink buckets tonight against a Bulls team missing one of its best defenders (Caruso) and one of its stronger rebounders (Javonte Green). Not to mention, we already saw Denver shoot 47.6 percent from the field on this team and that was without Nikola Jokic. I’m hoping Lonzo Ball can also help combat some of that scoring, especially after he shot a dismal 25.0 percent from the field over the team’s last two games.

•   Who is ready for some more Ayo Dosunmu? The rookie scored 10 points and grabbed 8 rebounds against this depleted Nuggets bench the last time around, and the Bulls will need him to do a lot of the same tonight. With Nikola Jokic back in the lineup, taking full advantage of the Nuggets’ second unit will be pivotal (which shoots 6th-worst in the league) in the Bulls walking away with a victory. Time to let Dosunmu play some more ISO ball!

•   Speaking of Jokic … I’m terrified, folks. He is good enough to single-handedly take down this Bulls team, and Vucevic will have to somehow find a way to keep up with him on the glass (2nd in rebounding) and keep him from completely taking over the game.

•   More in here …

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.