Injury Updates, Back-to-Back With the Raptors, Patrick Williams, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Injury Updates, Back-to-Back With the Raptors, Patrick Williams, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

After three games in four days earlier this week, the Bulls will begin yet ANOTHER back-to-back set tonight.

If I ever run into the NBA schedule-makers at the saloon, they better be ready for an old-school tussle.

  • Do you want the good news or bad news first? Bad news? You got it. Both Andre Drummond and Coby White will remain out for tonight’s matchup with the Toronto Raptors, and Zach LaVine is questionable again due to “injury management.” While LaVine has taken some steps in the right direction recently by playing in the team’s last three games, my gut is telling me he sits this one out ahead of tomorrow night’s game at the United Center. We’ll see.
  • The good news – at least for a banged-up Chicago – is that they will not have to worry about the Raptors’ best player in either of these two games. All-Star Pascal Siakam suffered a right adductor strain that will sideline him for at least a couple of weeks, per the Raptors. That will leave Toronto looking to fill a 24-point-per-game hole.
  • Don’t get me wrong, though, the Raptors can’t be taken lightly. As important as Siakam is, he isn’t the lone reason this group currently holds a top-4 net rating in the NBA. They have elite length at the wing position with guys like OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes, and they have two dead-eye 3-point shooters in Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet. Nick Nurse always has his team playing a smart and physical brand of basketball on both ends of the floor, and the absence of Siakam isn’t going to change that.
  • VanVleet and Trent Jr. are two of the biggest concerns for me tonight. In theory, the Bulls should have a harder time guarding someone like Barnes, but I have faith the recently rejuvenated Patrick Williams can make his fellow-Florida State forward work hard. What I have less faith in is this team’s ability to adequately guard the 3-point line. Opponents have shot 39.3 percent against Chicago this season, which is the third-best mark in the NBA. Some of that might be based on luck, but the Bulls have also struggled to hit rotations and get back in transition far too often. If they let either VanVleet or Trent get hot, that could prove to be the difference in this game.
  • Establishing Nikola Vucevic early could be key in this game. He feasted against the Raptors last season, scoring more points against them than any other team. Considering they failed to, once again, add traditional size at the center position this offseason, the door remains open for Vucevic to pace the Bulls toward a victory.
  • Patrick Williams left a bad taste in our mouths on Friday night. Not only did he turn the ball over on a layup attempt with 30 seconds to go, but he proceeded to clank the open 3-pointer to tie the game just 9 seconds later. As ugly as it was, however, I still think it represented something mostly positive. The mere fact that he had the confidence to take those shots feels like an important step in his development. Now, he’ll need to show us that he learned from that moment and it will not deter him from being aggressive moving forward. Tonight will be his first opportunity to do just that in a tough matchup with the reigning ROY.
  • DeMar DeRozan just makes people look silly for a living.
  • I just want to share this clip of Alex Caruso again because why not.
  • First Alex Caruso and now Marc Eversley! You love to see it!
  • Justin Fields is looking good!
  • Woof.

Author: Elias Schuster

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