On the Road Again, Ayo's Clamps on Trae, Boozer Talks Bulls, and Other Bulls Bullets

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On the Road Again, Ayo’s Clamps on Trae, Boozer Talks Bulls, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Grab some snacks. Pack a pillow. Make a playlist. We’re going on a road trip, people!

Wait, how much is gas?

•   After a convincing win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at the United Center this weekend – in large part thanks to the heroic return of Alex Caruso – the Chicago Bulls will head out West. The team will start a three-game week against the Sacramento Kings tonight before flying to Utah and Phoenix. Those ladder matchups will present another key opportunity for Chicago to prove their 1-14 record against the top-4 teams in each conference is nothing more than circumstantial. However, doing just that is going to be a lot more difficult if Zach LaVine can’t take the floor …

•   To be sure, we have no reason to believe that LaVine’s situation is anything different than what it has been. He is going to play through knee soreness for the remainder of the season, so seeing him pop on and off the injury report shouldn’t be shocking. Not to mention, if the Bulls want to give LaVine some extra rest, the time is now. There is no chance the All-Star shooting guard will willingly sit out games in his first-ever playoff campaign, and there is no chance the Bulls want him to do that come April. Still, I have to wonder how many games of rest LaVine will need or the Bulls will want to give him. The Bulls remain in a heated seeding battle in the middle of the Eastern Conference. Sitting out against a banged-up Cavaliers team or a 24-win Kings unit is one thing; sitting out against the Jazz or Suns is entirely another. Anyway, I guess I should wait to see what happens this evening before I overthink things.

•   Considering the Kings are the Kings – and the Bulls sit 1.0 game out of the 5th seed and half a game out of the 3rd seed – tonight is a must-win matchup. Sacramento had their eyes set on the Play-In Tournament at this season’s trade deadline. The organization sent rising star Tyrese Haliburton to the Indiana Pacers in a package to receive All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis. Thus far, the experiment has failed to vault them in the right direction, as the Kings hold just the 26th-ranked Net Rating since the trade deadline.

•   No team has allowed their opponent to shoot better from the field over the last 12 games than Sacramento (50.7%). We watched this outstandingly poor defense back on February 16th, as the Bulls shot 50.0 percent from the field behind 25 assists. All five starters scored in double figures, and Chicago went on to claim the 125-118 victory. Unfortunately, however, we also watched the Bulls’ outstandingly poor defense allow the Kings to shoot a comparable 51.0 percent from the floor. Sacramento put tremendous pressure on the rim thanks to the driving ability of De’Aaron Fox, and they also won the free-throw battle. The good news is that the presence of Alex Caruso should make life that much harder on the Kings’ star point guard. But let’s hope the entire team can play an active and urgent game on that end of the floor (similar to what they did on Saturday night).

•   Speaking of Caruso, I think someone picked up a move or two from his MVP-caliber teammate.

https://twitter.com/chicagobulls/status/1503053495871717380?s=20&t=GXLtzFMcDeVgFbbMIsa2hw

•   I lost brain cells when I read this tweet.

https://twitter.com/HawksFanTV/status/1503094213092818945?s=20&t=KEa7QeysFTRQOoHMaemRUQ

•   Yes, Trae Young scored 39 points and dished 13 dimes the last time he played Dosunmu and the Bulls. But do we remember what happened in the other three matchups this season? The rookie won the majority of his minutes spent against Young this season, and the NBA’s matchup data proves it. Dosumu has spent more time guarding Young this season than he has anyone else, and he’s held the NBA’s 5th-leading scorer to a dismal 36.7 percent performance from the field in those 1v1 minutes. He’s also blocked Young five times and forced him into four turnovers. The mere fact Hawks fans thought to send this into the universe goes to show where Dosunmu is living rent-free.

•   BugsBunnyNo.gif

•   Carlos Boozer recently sat down with Fansided’s Mark Carmen to talk about the Bulls of the past and present. The former big man was asked how this Bulls team compares to the one he helped reach the Eastern Conference Finals back in the early 2010s. Booz shot it straight: “They’re very good, and they’re very talented, and I think they’re getting a good buzz around the city of Chicago … but they got to get the wins that count because that’s who you’re going to go to to get the championship.” The guy isn’t wrong. For the Bulls to be taken seriously by the masses come playoff time, they have to show some signs of growth against these top teams over the next few weeks.

•   The Windy City Bulls have taken a flier on a young 21-year-old forward.

https://twitter.com/windycitybulls/status/1503389416567590917?s=20&t=e4kn21UQOmSJvI1zKv5yCw

•   An Eastern Conference foe is getting stronger.

•   Shoutout to the Lakers for providing me some good old fashion chuckles all season long.

•   Got to replace Mack somehow.

•   #NotFun



Author: Elias Schuster

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