No Ayo Tonight, Meeting with the Hornets, Back on ESPN, and Other Bulls Bullets

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No Ayo Tonight, Meeting with the Hornets, Back on ESPN, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Can someone please call the exterminator to fumigate the United Center?

It’s time to kill this injury bug once and for all.

•   Fortunately, Ayo Dosunmu’s injury doesn’t appear as if it should be a long-term issue, but a knock on the noggin is never a good thing. The rookie showed up on yesterday’s injury report with a concussion and was already ruled out for tonight’s game. Exactly when he sustained this injury is unknown, but we have reason to believe it came on Sunday before he went on the unknowing play through it against the Suns on Monday (ya know, when he went an odd 1-7 from the field with 0 assists). We can only hope that all he needs is one game on the bench to – literally – get his head right. Otherwise, the Bulls look to be in store for quite the challenging two games against two of the better young backcourt players in the league.

•   Dosunmu would have surely gotten the LaMelo Ball assignment tonight, and I have to imagine he will/would spend most of his time on Anthony Edwards this Friday. Without Alex Caruso or Lonzo Ball, Dosunmu has primarily been the team’s only hope when it came to above-average on-ball defense. I don’t have a ton of faith in this team’s ability to make up for his potential absence against these two teams that currently hold a top-12 defense. With that said, I do have faith in this team’s ability to score buckets, which might be all they need to do in these two contests.

•   The Hornets hold the 7th-worst defense in the NBA and allow opponents to score the 3rd-most points per contest. We saw this poor defense on full display back when they visited the United Center on November 29th. The Bulls’ “Big 3” completely dominated this team from start to finish, with Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan, and Zach LaVine combining for an absurd 83 points on a 59.6 percent shooting performance.

•   FWIW: Charlotte also happens to be on a five-game losing streak. While I’m scared they will be extra hungry to break that against one of the East’s top teams, it’s worth noting just how bleak this usually-explosive offense has played over that stretch. The team has scored just an average of 97.0 points per game, which is the second-lowest in the league since January 29th. They have shot a league-worst 39.1 percent from the field and a league-worst 27.5 percent from downtown. For whatever reason, LaMelo Ball has really struggled over the last few games to find his shot, scoring less than 20 points in three-straight contests while shooting just 40.2 percent from the field.

•   What also hasn’t helped this Hornets team is the absence of veteran Gordon Hayward. He’s scored just a total of 10 points in his previous three games, and he is now sidelined indefinitely with an ankle injury. A grounding presence, good passer, and efficient scoring, it’s simply a fact that this is a different Hornets team when he is off the floor.

•   Now, I give you all that hope just to ruin it with this one fact: The game is on ESPN. EXPLETIVE! The Bulls were dominated by the Nets, Warriors, and Bucks the past three times they appeared on the channel. And the outcome wasn’t much better when they got a TNT appearance against the Grizzlies on MLK Day.

•   Young still fits this team in so many ways, and I would very much love for this to happen. Unfortunately, I doubt it will.

•   The Athletic Darnell Mayberry evaluated trade proposals from readers. Most of them are super fun to think about, but almost all of them feel so unlikely.

•   Here are some of the latest trade rumors, by the way. Things still (expectedly) quiet on the Bulls front.

•   The Zen Master is No. 1, and we all know it.

•   WAIT, THIS GUY DIDN’T MAKE THE LIST!?

•   Yay health!



Author: Elias Schuster

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