Bulls Weekly Preview: Nets, 76ers, and Jazz – January 3-8, 2022

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Bulls Weekly Preview: Nets, 76ers, and Jazz – January 3-8, 2022

Chicago Bulls

Thanks to a good old fashion brainfart, I totally forgot to publish this Weekly Preview on Monday prior to Chicago’s game with Cleveland.

So, for those who threw their phone into Lake Michigan, just found it, and instantly went to BN to read the latest Weekly Preview, I’ll direct your attention to the post below for some insight on last night’s game:

Meet the Opponents:

  • 1/4 vs. Nets: Turns out we’re pretty freakin’ good when there is no drama!
  • 1/6 vs. 76ers: Joel Embiid is going for a perfect 13-0 against the Bulls
  • 1/7 vs. Jazz: Beat Lauri once, shame on you …

Bulls Projected Lineup

1. Ayo Dosunmu
2. Zach LaVine
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Patrick Williams
5. Nikola Vučević

Opponent Projected Lineup

Nets:

1. Kyrie Irving
2. Seth Curry
3. Kevin Durant
4. Ben Simmons
5. Nix Claxton

76ers:

1. James Harden
2. Tyrese Maxey
3. Tobias Harris
4. P.J. Tucker
5. Joel Embiid

Jazz:

1. Mike Conley
2. Jordan Clarkson
3. Lauri Markkanen
4. Kelly Olynyk
5. Jarred Vanderbilt

Unavailable/Injured (at the start of the week):

Nets: Royce O’Neal OUT (illness),

76ers: N/A

Jazz: Collin Sexton OUT (hamstring)

Four Factors

•   Bulls: 54.6 EFG% (12th), 13.7 TOV% (8th), 23.8 OREB% (27th), .260 FTA RATE (20th)

•   Nets: 58.8 EFG% (1st), 14.7 TOV% (17th), 22.8 OREB% (30th), .246 FTA RATE (26th)

•   76ers: 55.3 EFG% (10th), 14.7 TOV% (12th), 23.8 OREB% (28th), .285 FTA RATE (7th)

•   Jazz: 55.3 EFG% (9th), 15.2 TOV% (21st), 30.9 OREB% (7th), .260 FTA RATE (19th)

What to Watch For …

Bulls: For some dumb reason, the Chicago Bulls actually tend to win basketball games when they play good teams. Whether it be victories over the Celtics, Heat, or Bucks, this veteran trio has shown time and again that they can elevate their play against some of the league’s best competition. Having said that, they also still sit just 16-21 on the season and are in the thick of another losing streak. We all know this roster still has some serious flaws, and this could be the team’s last real opportunity to string together some meaningful wins before the front office is forced to evaluate change. Keep stacking losses, and the small glimmer of hope that was created a week ago with five wins in six games will vanish for good.

Nets: The Brooklyn team that Chicago beat 108-99 back on Nov. 1 isn’t the team they’ll see tomorrow. The Nets have played tremendous basketball as of late, winning 12 games in a row and vaulting themselves into the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 spot. While there is always potential for things to go south with such unpredictable start talent, the Nets currently have a clear identity that revolves around efficient shotmaking (1st in EFG%) and knowing your role. Both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have been great, but it’s been the contributions of role players like Royce O’Neal, Nic Claxton, TJ Warren, and Yutu Watanabe that have allowed this team to make some unexpected strides. Let’s hope the Bulls’ supporting cast is ready to meet them at their level.

76ers: Coming into this week, the 76ers have won 10 of their last 12 games. Joel Embiid continues to look like an MVP-caliber talent, while James Harden is averaging 24.4 points with an insane 13.0 assists over his last five games. Thanks to what these two can do in the PnR, this remains one of the scariest matchups for Chicago in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls’ defense is going to have to be at its best to pick up a win, while someone like DeMar DeRozan or Zach LaVine will have to ensure that they’re matching whatever Embiid is doing on the offensive end.

Jazz: Lauri Markkanen wanted to make his old team pay more than anything. The former Bull scored 32 points on 12-18 shooting from the field when these two teams first met back in November. His performance combined with the 5-10 shooting effort from 3 by big man Kelly Olynyk had the Jazz in a position to steal the game with roughly five minutes left. Fortunately, in rare fashion, the Bulls were able to pull away in the clutch thanks to a solid team-wide effort on both ends. While the Jazz have fallen off since their scalding hot start, I do still anticipate that we see another close game in Round 2. The advanced stats continue to love what this unselfish and make-shift roster can do, and they’ve already shown they have what it takes to give the Bulls some trouble.



Author: Elias Schuster

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