Beating the Heat on opening night was a nice surprise, but dropping a close game to Washington and losing the home opener in a blowout sucked the positive vibes right out of the air.
Now, the Bulls open the week against the unbeaten Celtics. Let’s preview the action.
Meet the Opponents:
- 10/24 vs. Celtics (3-0): Grab your SPF50 because we’re so hot you might get sunburnt …
- 10/26 vs. Pacers (1-2): Say hello to Tyrese Haliburton …
- 10/28 @ Spurs (2-1): Don’t look past us this week …
- 10/29 @ 76ers (0-3): Remember when Joel Embiid put Vooch on skates last season?
Bulls Projected Lineup
1. Ayo Dosunmu
2. Zach LaVine
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Patrick Williams
5. Nikola Vučević
Opponent Projected Lineup
1. Marcus Smart
2. Derrick White
3. Jaylen Brown
4. Jayson Tatum
5. Al Horford
1. Tyrese Haliburton
2. Chris Duarte
3. Buddy Hield
4. Jalen Smith
5. Terry Taylor
1. Tre Jones
2. Devin Vassell
3. Jeremy Sochan
4. Keldon Johnson
5. Jakob Poeltl
1. Tyrese Maxey
2. James Harden
3. Tobias Harris
4. P.J. Tucker
5. Joel Embiid
Unavailable/Injured (at the start of the week):
Bulls: OUT – Lonzo Ball (knee)
Celtics: OUT – Robert Williams III (knee), OUT- Danillo Gallinari (knee)
Pacers: OUT – Myles Turner (ankle), OUT – Daniel Theis (unlisted)
Spurs: OUT – Derrick Barlow, OUT – Jordan Hall
• Bulls: 49.5 EFG% (29th), 12.7 TOV% (6th), 24.2 OREB% (26th), .336 FTA RATE (3rd)
• Celtics: 61.1 EFG% (1st), 13.4 TOV% (8th), 25.8 OREB% (22nd), .286 FTA RATE (12th)
• Pacers: 51.3 EFG% (22nd), 13.2 TOV% (7th), 34.5 OREB% (4th), .220 FTA RATE (26th)
• Spurs: 54.6 EFG% (9th), 14.8 TOV% (19th), 28.8 OREB% (13th), .297 FTA RATE (9th)
• 76ers: 51.4 EFG% (21st), 12.5 TOV% (5th), 22.3 OREB% (29th), .279 FTA RATE (14th)
What to Watch For …
Bulls: We might get three Zach LaVine games this week! I would imagine that LaVine will play in the first two games at home against the Celtics and Pacers, skip the front half of the weekend back-to-back against the Spurs, and then play in Philly on Sunday night. But we also can’t say any of that for sure, which is so frustrating.
Celtics: Boston comes to town unbeaten, and the Bulls need a win after dropping back-to-back games to the Wizards and Cavaliers. This one might not be the one. Boston is healthy (save for Robert Williams III) and humming. Although, I also didn’t see the Bulls beating the Heat on opening night in Miami, so maybe they will play up to the challenge and steal one against the reigning No. 1 seed.
Pacers: The Pacers will be without Myles Turner when they come to town this week, and they’re the first of two pretty winnable games for the Bulls. Billy Donovan and the Bulls shouldn’t sleep on Indiana, though. Tyrese Haliburton is off to a red-hot start averaging 25.7 points, 9.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and a pair of steals per contest. Lottery pick Bennedict Mathurin also looks like the scorer the Pacers hoped he would be, as he’s started the season averaging 24.0 points on 52.1 percent shooting from the field. The central division just keeps getting better.
Spurs: The Spurs present the Bulls with their easiest spot of the week, but the game is in San Antonio and they’ll likely be without LaVine. Keldon Johnson is leading the way offensively for the Spurs, scoring 21.3 points per contest, while Jakob Poeltl is snagging nearly 10 rebounds and averaging 16 points. So while this roster may lack high-impact talent, we know they always limit their mistakes and play hard. The last thing the Bulls can do is walk in with their guard down.
76ers: The 76ers won’t be winless much longer, and they might even be on a little heater by the time the Bulls visit them on Sunday night. Watching Joel Embiid take Vooch to school in every meeting last season was the thing that nightmares are made of, and I can’t imagine the addition of Embiid’s former teammate (Andre Drummond) will help slow him down much. Now, to the Bulls’ credit, they did play this team close last season, so let’s just hope the experienced they gained in 2021-22 can help them get their first win over Philly since 2019.