Zach LaVine and Javonte Green return.
DeMar DeRozan sits.
Zach LaVine & Javonte Green will play tonight vs. OKC.
DeMar DeRozan (rest) is out tonight while Nikola Vucevic (knee) is a game-time decision. pic.twitter.com/HKMmzXH6cE
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 24, 2022
Considering the Bulls are probably having nightmares about the injury bug, I can totally understand giving DeMar DeRozan the night off. Not only has he deserved it after carrying a significant workload, but the Bulls have a jam-packed week. The only problem is that a greater workload will now immediately be placed on Zach LaVine, who is set to return from a knee injury.
Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder – 7:00 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV), and 670 The Score (Radio)
1. Ayo Dosunmu
2. Coby White
3. Zach LaVine
4. Tyler Cook
5. Nikola Vučević
Injury Report: Patrick Williams OUT (Wrist), Lonzo Ball OUT (knee), Zach LaVine OUT (knee), Derrick Jones Jr. OUT (knee), Javonte Green OUT (groin), Alex Caruson OUT (Wrist)
Oklahoma City Thunder
1. Josh Giddey
2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
3. Lu Dort
4. Darius Bazley
5. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
Injury Report: Derrick Favors OUT (back), Vit Krejci OUT (ankle)
What to Watch For …
• If the Bulls show up as cold as they did last night, they will 100 percent lose to this Thunder team. While OKC may only have 14 wins in their back pocket, this is a young team with plenty of talent. It’s only a matter of time before Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is an All-Star, and he has an average of 27.5 points, 6.9 assists, and 1.6 steals over the last seven games to show for it. He is a crafy guard with good quickness who will surely test the Bulls’ interior defense that let up 60 points in the paint to the Magic last night.
• The Bulls depleted defense will also have to deal with the savvy passing ability of rookie Josh Giddey. Averaging 6.2 assists per game to go along with his 7.2 rebounds and 11.2 points, Giddey is a potentially elite playmaker that can catch even the smartest veterans off guard. Without Caruso and Ball in the lineup, this could turn into another good test for the Bulls’ perimeter defense.
• Good news: The Bulls could simply win this game on the offensive end. As good as Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey can be, the Thunder don’t have a ton of options on the offensive end. OKC is comfortably the worst shooting team in the league with a 41.6 field goal percentage and a 31.0 percent clip from downtown. They have averaged just 100.3 points per game this season, and while their defense does rank 13th-overall, the Bulls should theoretically have enough efficient shotmaking power to pull away.
• With no DeRozan, the Bulls need Vucevic to step up tonight … if he plays.
The Bulls Need a Much Better Nikola Vucevic Than the One They Got Last Night, and He Knows Ithttps://t.co/RdTNnCxbCD
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 24, 2022