Bulls Weekly Preview: Spurs and Kings, February 14-16, 2022

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Bulls Weekly Preview: Spurs and Kings, February 14-16, 2022

Chicago Bulls

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Bulls basketball as much as the next guy, but this week can’t end fast enough. The Bulls need this break as bad as anyone in the league, so let’s hope they can make quick work of two below-.500 teams and finally chillax.

Meet the Opponents:

•  2/7 vs. Spurs (22-35): Lost to us once, shame on you. Lost to us twice … really?
•  2/9 vs Kings (22-36): You thought you were done with Sabonis for the year! Ha! 

Bulls Projected Lineup

1. Ayo Dosunmu
2. Zach LaVine
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Javonte Green
5. Nikola Vučević

Opponent Projected Lineup

Spurs:

1. Dejounte Murray
2. Devin Vassell
3. Doug McDermott
4. Keldon Johnson
5. Jakob Poeltl

Kings:

1. De’Aaron Fox
2. Justin Holiday
3. Maurice Harkless
4. Harrison Barnes
5. Domantas Sabonis

Unavailable/Injured (at the start of the week):

Bulls: Zach LaVine OUT (knee), Lonzo Ball OUT (knee), Alex Caruso OUT (wrist), Patrick Williams OUT (wrist), Javonte Green QUESTIONABLE (foot), Derrick Jones Jr. PROBABLE (finger)

Spurs: N/A

Kings: Jeremy Lamb QUESTIONABLE (ankle), Terence Davis OUT (wrist)

Injury updates via ESPN

Four Factors

•   Bulls:  54.6 EFG% (4th),  13.1 TOV% (6th), 24.6 OREB% (29th),  .243 FTA RATE (13th)

•   Spurs: 52.7 EFG% (16th),  12.5 TOV% (1st),  27.9 OREB% (9th),  .199 FTA RATE (30th)

•   Kings:  52.3 EFG% (19th),  14.1 TOV% (15th),  27.5 OREB% (12th),  .252 FTA RATE (7th)

What to Watch For …

Bulls: I’m incredibly eager to see whether DeMar DeRozan can stretch his 30-point streak into the All-Star break, but my eyes will be set on Derrick Jones Jr. over these next two games. The Chicago Bulls forward has decided to come back early and play through pain tied to a finger he fractured late last month. He looked to be in noticeable pain during Saturday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he also struggled to contribute at times, shooting just 1-5 from the field and adding six fouls to the box score. We know how impactful the versatile forward can be for this Bulls team, especially on the defensive end where he can use his length and verticality to help protect the room. Jones surely deserves time to shake off the rust of a 17-game absence, but how long will that take?

Spurs: The San Antonio Spurs may have only 22 wins to their name, but the Bulls learned the hard way what this team can do. DeRozan lost to his old squad by 9 points on January 28th despite a 30-point effort from him and Zach LaVine. This Spurs team that averages the 8th-most points per game put 131 points up on a depleted Bulls defense, pushing seven players into double figures. Chicago’s backcourt particularly struggled to guard initial All-Star snub Dejounte Murray, who used his savvy ballhandling to fall just short of a triple-double with 29 points, 12 assists, and 9 rebounds. Big man Jakob Poeltl also gave this undersized Bulls team fits with a 21-point performance to go along with his 6 offensive rebounds. If the Bulls want to walk away victorious this time around, they will have to find a way to stop the pick-and-roll dominance of these two players and keep one of the NBA’s better offensive rebounders off the glass.

Kings: One of the most active teams at the trade deadline, the Sacramento Kings are on a playoff pursuit. They have back-to-back games with offensive domination since adding big man Domantas Sabonis into the mix. The Bulls are plenty familiar with Sabonis, who averaged 19.6 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 5.0 assists over his three games against this team this season. Throw in the downhill game of De’Aaron Fox, and this could be a tougher-than-expected matchup for a Bulls’ defense. With that said, the good news is this Kings’ own defense has struggled to stop anyone all season. They may look a little different now, but they have the 2nd-worst defensive rating on the season and have given up at least 110 points in the previous three games.

Question of the week …



Author: Elias Schuster

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