The Bulls’ season-long six-game road trip continues this week with four west coast games. The first will come in Utah on Monday and the last in Sacramento on Sunday night, with trips to Phoenix and Golden State in between.
Meet the Opponents:
- 11/28 @ Jazz (12-10): Thanks for Lauri …
- 11/2 @ Suns (13-6): Thanks for Cam Payne?
- 11/4 @ Warriors (11-10): When is the last time you beat us?
- 11/6 @ Kings (10-8): Beam up …
Bulls Projected Lineup
1. Ayo Dosunmu
2. Zach LaVine
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Patrick Williams
5. Nikola Vučević
Opponent Projected Lineup
1. Jordan Clarkson
2. Collin Sexton
3. Lauri Markkanen
4. Jarred Vanderbilt
5. Kelly Olynyk
1. Cameron Payne
2. Devin Booker
3. Mikal Bridges
4. Torrey Craig
5. Deandre Ayton
1. Stephen Curry
2. Klay Thompson
3. Andrew Wigging
4. Draymond Green
5. Keyvon Looney
1. De’Aron Fox
2. Kevin Huerter
3. Harrison Barnes
4. Keegan Murray
5. Domantas Sabonis
Unavailable/Injured (at the start of the week):
Bulls: OUT – Lonzo Ball (knee)
Jazz: QST – Lauri Markkanen (knee), OUT – Leandro Balmaro (ankle), OUT – Mike Conley (leg), OUT – Rudy Gay (finger)
Suns: OUT – Chris Paul (heel), OUT – Cam Johnson (knee)
Warriors: OUT – Andre Iguodala (hip)
• Bulls: 53.2 EFG% (16th), 14.9 TOV% (18th), 26.3 OREB% (19th), .262 FTA RATE (20th)
• Jazz: 55.2 EFG% (6th), 15.5 TOV% (23rd), 32.0 OREB% (4th), .240 FTA RATE (25th)
• Suns: 54.5 EFG% (12th), 13.3 TOV% (6th), 31.5 OREB% (5th), .231 FTA RATE (27th)
• Warriors: 57.4 EFG% (2nd), 16.5 TOV% (28th), 26.0 OREB% (21st), .265 FTA RATE (12th)
• Kings: 57.1 EFG% (3rd), 14.7 TOV% (14th), 25.6 OREB% (23rd), .209 FTA RATE (30th)
What to Watch For …
Bulls: After huge wins over the Celtics and Bucks to open last week, the Bulls closed the week with a disappointing loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Even impressive wins over the Celtics and Bucks can’t cover up the stink that has been the Bulls’ first quarter of the season. They’re just not a very good team right now, and a four-game trip out west against four teams with winning records will be a stiff test. Can they finally begin to play consistent basketball or will they separate themselves further from the East elites?
Jazz: After getting out to a terrific 10-3 start, the Jazz have come back down to earth, winning just two of their last nine games. Plus, the Bulls might miss their old pal Lauri Markkanen – one of the Jazz’s best players this season – as he deals with a knee injury. Missing Markkanen tonight would be significant for the Bulls. During Utah’s last nine games, they’re +1.1 per 100 possessions with him on the floor. With him on the bench, they’re -16.8 per 100 possessions. Markkanen and his career-high 63.0 true shooting percentage are the Jazz this season.
Suns: Phoenix welcomes the Bulls to town for the first time since last February when the Bulls almost overcame a sluggish start with a massive 41-point fourth quarter against the Suns. Phoenix would hold on and win 127-124 as Devin Booker and DeMar DeRozan each scored a game-high 38 points. Phoenix is riding high right now and should be a problem for the Bulls later this week.
Warriors: In the Splash Brother’s era in Golden State, the Warriors have had the Bulls’ number. The two will meet for the first time this season, with Golden State winners of the last ten matchups dating back to 2017. Golden State has won 16 of the previous 21 meetings between the two, dating back a decade.
Kings: The Kings have been the fun story of the early NBA season, playing like we hadn’t seen a Sacramento team play since the purple and black glory days of the early 00s when Chris Weber and Mike Bibby were in town. They’re one of the best offensive teams in the NBA through the first quarter of the season, and their confidence in closing time has largely fueled their fun start. Still, they’re 27th in the NBA in defense, so they’ll give up plenty of points. I hope DeRozan and LaVine come prepared!