It’s another light week for the Bulls. They get some much-needed time off on the tail-end of the All-Star break before kicking off the second half of the season against Atlanta on Thursday and then finish the week up with a Saturday night showdown with Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Meet the Opponents:
• 2/24 vs. Hawks (28-30): Zach LaVine was snubbed; now he gets to remind everyone!
• 2/26 vs. Grizzlies (41-19): Round 2!
Bulls Projected Lineup
1. Ayo Dosunmu
2. Zach LaVine
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Javonte Green
5. Nikola Vučević
Opponent Projected Lineup
1. Trae Young
2. Kevin Huerter
3. De’Andre Hunter
4. Danilo Gallinari
5. Clint Capela
1. Ja Morant
2. Desmond Bane
3. Ziaire Williams
4. Jaren Jackson
5. Stephen Adams
Unavailable/Injured (at the start of the week):
Bulls: Lonzo Ball OUT (knee), Alex Caruso OUT (wrist), Patrick Williams OUT (wrist), Javonte Green QUESTIONABLE (foot), Derrick Jones Jr. PROBABLE (finger)
Hawks: John Collins OUT (heel)
Grizzlies: Yves Pones OUT (thigh), Xavier Tillman OUT (thigh), Dillon Brooks OUT (ankle)
Injury updates via ESPN.
• Bulls: 54.7 EFG% (4th), 13.1 TOV% (8th), 24.8OREB% (29th), .243 FTA RATE (15th)
• Hawks: 54.0 EFG% (7th), 12.5 TOV% (2nd), 267 OREB% (20th), .247 FTA RATE (10th)
• Grizzlies: 51.9 EFG% (24th), 13.3 TOV% (9th), 33.7 OREB% (1st), .246 FTA RATE (13th)
What to Watch For …
Bulls: The Bulls will kick off the second half of the season on Thursday against Atlanta. But while they were forced to lean on (a historic stretch by) DeMar DeRozan heading into the break, Chicago will now have Zach LaVine back in the lineup. They’ll also have the recently signed Tristan Thompson available. So can the Bulls run their win streak to seven this week and reach the 40-win plateau? They can, but they’ll have their work cut out for them, especially on Saturday when they dance with Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Hawks: Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks are no team for the Bulls to be taking lightly. Atlanta is fighting for their playoff hopes, and Trae Young can score in bunches as well as anyone in the league. The Bulls beat the Hawks twice in three nights at the end of December, so Atlanta will be coming into the United Center with a chip on their shoulder and a good idea of what the Bulls are bringing to the table.
Grizzlies: This one should be a big early test for the Bulls in the second half, especially regarding Tristan Thompson’s impact on the team. With it being only his second game with the team, he’ll likely still be trying to find his role, as will Billy Donovan be trying to find the best deployment for the veteran big man. Still, Memphis is the league’s best offensive rebounding team, and that’s one of the soft spots for the Bulls, and Thompson was brought here to help with that exact issue.
Question of the week …
Last Week’s Question: Can the team stretch their win streak to five heading into the All-Star break? Then, will any buyout signings follow?
The Bulls did indeed stretch their winning streak to five games heading into the All-Star break, wrapping up the first half of the season tied with the Miami Heat atop the Eastern Conference at 38-21. The Bulls also added some much-needed big man depth by signing veteran big Tristan Thompson for the second half of the season. Overall, it was a pretty successful week for the Bulls heading into the break, but now it must continue.
This Week’s Question: What type of impact will Tristan Thompson’s acquisition have on the Bulls when they kick off their second-half schedule later this week against Atlanta?