Good News(!), Trying to Snap the Losing Streak, LeBron Really Wanted Caruso Back, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Good News(!), Trying to Snap the Losing Streak, LeBron Really Wanted Caruso Back, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

If you’re a camel: Happy Hump Day.

If you’re a human: Happy Wednesday.

If you’re a human Bulls fan: Happy “Alex Caruso and Patrick Williams Were Cleared for Contact Practices Day!”

If you’re a camel Bulls fan: Do you hang out with Benny the Bull?

Head coach Billy Donovan didn’t provide any kind of target date for either player to rejoin the rotation, but it sure sounds like that news could be on the horizon. What a splendid mid-week surprise!

•   Let me just say, I’d feel a lot better heading into tonight if the Chicago Bulls weren’t on a five-game losing streak. The Detroit Pistons’ might be the 3rd-worst team in the NBA, but they haven’t been playing like it in recent weeks. A team full of dynamic youngsters, the Pistons have won six of their past eight games. The team beat a red-hot Boston Celtics squad right before the All-Star break, and they carried that momentum into a 106-103 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 24th. The Hornets, Hawks, and Raptors have also fallen into the Pistons’ trap during this recent stretch. Yes, there is still no question the Bulls are better than this Pistons crew, but there is also arguably no better time for the Pistons to pull off a surprise win.

•   The last thing the Bulls want to do is walk into this game too comfortably. Not only should snapping a season-low losing streak be motivation enough, but every win counts in this tightly-contested conference. Only 5.5 games separate the top-6 seeds, meaning plenty of movement is in store over these final few weeks. So it’s simple: Do what you did on January 11th, right? After coming off a loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the Bulls clobbered the Pistons 133-87 behind an absurd 50+ percent shooting performance from both the field and behind the arc. Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic all played under 30 minutes, earning themselves some extra rest on the front-end of a back-to-back. The Bulls’ ball movement (33 assists), balance, and basketball IQ was too much for this inexperienced Pistons squad to overcome, and we can only hope that proves to be the same tonight.

•   Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially when we consider that recent Pistons success. No. 1-overall pick Cade Cunningham has looked the part since his team’s win right before the All-Star break. The rookie has averaged 21.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 5.5 assists, even pulling off two double-doubles over the last eight games. While Cunningham has struggled to put up consistently efficient performances (turnovers have also been a slight issue), he plays with the comfort of a veteran. Cunningham’s head is on a constant swivel as he searches for the right play, and his ability to recognize when to attack and when to find his teammates has improved significantly as the year has gone on.

•   Zach LaVine will get to face off against Team USA teammate Jerami Grant. The versatile forward has come back down to earth this season after his breakout campaign in 2021-22, but he remains a matchup problem for this Chicago Bulls’ roster. A power forward who can create his own shot on one end while switching on players 1-5 on the other, he showed Bulls fans exactly how pesky he can be with a career-high 43 points last season. The Bulls should expect a physical game from Grant tonight in the frontcourt, especially with big man Isaiah Stewart on the sideline.

•   The Bulls could use a win-streak right about now!

•   According to NBA Insider Marc Stein, LeBron James fought for an Alex Caruso return: “LeBron James was a strong advocate for the trade that brought Westbrook to Hollywood and thus has to wear his considerable slice of culpability for how poorly things are working out,” Stein wrote in one of his latest Substack posts. “Yet one source did point out at least one counter on James’ behalf, noting that he was also one of the organization’s staunchest Alex Caruso fans and badly wanted the Lakers to re-sign the defensive-minded guard.”

•   While I’m sure many members inside the organization would not have minded if the Caruso marriage continue, it’s clear James and Co. undervalued exactly what he brought to the table. After all, we all know what James says goes, and he opted for a big-time Westbrook flop over keeping valuable role players like Caruso. And just how bad has that decision turned out to be? The Lakers’ defense has dropped from the best in the NBA to the 17th slot this season. Is Caruso the sole reason for that? No, but he was undoubtedly a significant part of the Lakers’ success on the side of the ball, and he’s shown why this season in Chicago.

•   Heads up: According to the latest official injury report, Nikola Vucevic remains questionable for tonight’s game with a hamstring issue. While his absence would not be as significant as it was against the 76ers, there is no question any game he isn’t on the floor becomes a more challenging one for the Bulls.

•   I might have to snatch some tickets.

•   The new GM is making moves:

•   Get caught up:

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Author: Elias Schuster

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