Pre-Gamin’: Bulls at Pelicans (7:00 CT) — Lineups, Odds, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

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Pre-Gamin’: Bulls at Pelicans (7:00 CT) — Lineups, Odds, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Chicago Bulls

DeMar DeRozan or no DeMar DeRozan: The Bulls have to take care of business tonight.

Game Info

Chicago Bulls (42-29) at New Orleans Pelicans (30-42) – 7:00 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV) and 670 The Score (Radio)

Projected Starters

Chicago Bulls

1. Alex Caruso
2. Ayo Dosunmu
3. Zach LaVine
4. Javonte Green
5. Nikola Vucevic

Injury Report: DeMar DeRozan OUT (adductor strain), Lonzo Ball OUT (knee)

New Orleans Pelicans

1. Devonte’ Graham
2. CJ McCollum
3. Herb Jones
4. Jaxson Hayes
5. Jonas Valanciunas

Injury Report: Brandon Ingram DOUBTFUL (hamstring), Zion Williamson OUT (foot), Kira Lewis Jr. OUT (knee), Larry Nance Jr. AVAILABLE (knee)

Odds

The Bulls walk into tonight as a -3.5 favorite over the Pelicans at PointsBet Illinois Sportsbook and FanDuel Illinois Sportsbook. Click on either link to sign up and pick the Bulls to cover (… or pick the opposite, I guess …)!

Well, my luck finally ran out. I recommended taking the Bulls to cover against the Bucks … and we all know how that went. Sorry!

For tonight’s game, I’m going to avoid the outcome as a whole and look back at the player props. I don’t hate the idea of hitting both the over on Javonte Green points (6.5, -120) and Nikola Vucevic rebounds (10.5, +106) over at Fanduel Illinois Sportsbook. With no DeRozan, there will be some extra buckets to go around the starting lineup, and I’ll always like plus-odds on double-digit Vucevic rebounds. After all, the guy averages the 7th-most per game.

What to Watch For …

•   CJ McCollum has been cruising since he arrived in New Orleans. Finally the No. 1 option (at least until Brandon Ingram returns), McCollum has averaged 26.1 points to go along with 6.7 assists per game in his 16 games as a Pelican. He’s been shooting with tremendous efficiency, and his teammates have significantly benefited from his playmaking ability. The Bulls can live with a big McCollum performance if they keep all the other Pelicans under control, but stop McCollum and the night likely becomes that much easier.

•   I hope Nikola Vucevic is ready for a battle. Jonas Valanciunas has only improved over the past two seasons, and he is now averaging a career-high 18.1 points to go along with a career-high 36.9 percent mark from downtown. He and Vucevic also sit side-by-side as the NBA’s 6th and 7th leading rebounders, which could make what is normally an easy night for the Bulls big man on the glass a bit more difficult. The good news is that Vucevic might be getting hot at the right time. He dropped 22 points against Milwaukee on Tuesday, looking like the only bright spot for Chicago as he drained 4-5 shots from downtown.

•   The Bulls are at their best when they get out and run, and the Pelicans have allowed the 10th-most fastbreak points in the NBA per game since the All-Star break. Something to keep in mind.

•   The Pelicans do not have a lot of offensive firepower off their bench, so whenever the starters are off the floor, it could be a prime opportunity for a streaky Coby White to help gain his team a comfortable lead.

•   More in here …



Author: Elias Schuster

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