THE CHICAGO BULLS ARE BACK!
*sees the Zach LaVine news*
The Chicago Bulls *sigh* are back …
Chicago Bulls (0-0) at Miami Heat (0-0) – 6:30 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV), and 670 The Score (Radio)
1. Ayo Dosunmu
2. Coby White
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Patrick Williams
5. Nikola Vucevic
Injury Report: Lonzo Ball OUT (knee), Zach LaVine OUT (knee injury management)
1. Kyle Lowry
2. Tyler Herro
3. Caleb Martin
4. Jimmy Butler
5. Bam Adebayo
Injury Report: Victor Oladipo OUT (knee), Omer Yurtseven OUT (ankle)
The Bulls walk into tonight as +7.5 underdog against the Miami Heat at PointsBet Illinois Sportsbook and the FanDuel Illinois Sportsbook. Click on either link to sign up and pick the Bulls to cover (… or pick the opposite …)!
I’m no betting expert, but I’d take a nice hard look at the over/under-point total for Nikola Vucevic. With no LaVine in the starting lineup, he automatically becomes a greater asset on the offensive end, and I like his chances to hit the over 16.5 that Fanduel currently has set. The over 10.5 for Ayo Dosunmu might also be worth some consideration, in my opinion.
What to Watch For …
- The Zach LaVine news is like a simultaneous sucker punch to the cheek and groin. Both LaVine and the team made it sound as if the All-Star would be fully healthy for the start of the regular season. However, the news this morning indicated that this wasn’t the case, and head coach Billy Donovan practically confirmed as much prior to tip-off. While Donovan also suggested that this isn’t expected to be a long-term issue, I’m not sure I can trust that until I see LaVine consistently on the court. And, in the meantime, making up for his absence is going to be a problem.
- Of course, with no LaVine, a familiar amount of pressure will fall on the back of DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic. With that being the case, I have to wonder if the team’s newly preferred style of play will be thrown out the window from the jump. The plan was to play a free-flowing, five-out offense with plenty of transition scoring. Unfortunately, LaVine is the catalyst for a lot of that attack, so let’s see if the Bulls can still find success in that system without their max player.
- Ayo Dosunmu and Patrick Williams are going to have to put together a big night. While Miami’s stars are as frisky as they come on both ends of the floor, it was largely the Heat’s role players last season that caused Chicago so much trouble. Whether it be Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson, or Dewayne Dedmon, players outside the “big 3” consistently made an impact (specifically on the offensive end).
- I’d like to see Williams, in particular, prove he’s worth the starting spot he almost lost. The way he can do that is by approaching this content with the same aggressive mindset we saw in the Bulls’ final preseason game. This means moving with purpose off the ball and playing physically around the rim. I’d also like to see Donovan get him involved as a screen-setter early and often. Not only is this an easy way to get him looks, but it forces him to stay active on that side of the floor.
- More thoughts in here …