Bulls Weekly Preview: Clippers, Hornets & Trail Blazers – January 30-February 5, 2023
Well, last week was…something.
An easy schedule for the Bulls saw them go just 2-2. Now, to start this week, the Bulls sit back in the last spot in the play-in tournament. Three winnable games are on the horizon, all at the United Center. Time to take care of business, right?
Meet the Opponents:
1/31 vs Clippers: Who’s going to be in the Clippers lineup exactly?
2/2 vs Hornets: They can’t lose to the Hornets AGAIN…can they?
2/4 vs Portland: This game is the NBA version of the Spiderman Meme
Bulls Projected Lineup
- Ayo Dosunmu
- Zach LaVine
- DeMar DeRozan
- Patrick Williams
- Nikola Vučević
Opponents Projected Lineup
- Terance Mann
- Luke Kennard
- Paul George
- Kawhi Leonard
- Ivica Zubac
- LaMelo Ball
- Terry Rozier
- Gordon Hayward
- P.J. Washington
- Mason Plumlee
- Damian Lillard
- Anfernee Simons
- Jerami Grant
- Nassir Little
- Drew Eubanks
Unavailable/Injured (at the start of the week)
Clippers: Kawhi Leonard DAY-TO-DAY (right knee injury management), Paul George DAY-TO-DAY (right knee soreness), Robert Covington QUESTIONABLE (personal reasons), Reggie Jackson QUESTIONABLE (right achilles soreness), Luke Kennard QUESTIONABLE (right calf soreness), Marcus Morris QUESTIONABLE (rib contusion), John Wall DOUBTFUL (abdominal soreness)
Hornets: Kelly Oubre Jr DOUBTFUL (hand), Cody Martin QUESTIONABLE (knee)
Trail Blazers: Justise Winslow QUESTIONABLE (ankle), Josh Hart QUESTIONABLE (hamstring), Jusuf Nurkic QUESTIONABLE (calf), Ibou Badji QUESTIONABLE (knee)
Bulls: 55.0 EFG% (12th), 13.4 TOV% (7th), 23.4 OREB% (28th), 22.4 FTA/GM (24th)
Clippers: 54.5 EFG% (13th), 14.8 TOV% (19th), 28.2 OREB% (16th), 23.4 FTA/GM (19th)
Hornets: 51.2 EFG% (30th), 13.4 TOV% (8th), 29.1 OREB% (12th), 23.7 FTA/GM (16th)
Trail Blazers: 55.7 EFG% (9th), 15.3 TOV% (26th), 28.5 OREB% (14th), 25.2 FTA/GM (8th)
What to Watch For…
Bulls: Eli mentioned it a bunch last week, but with the deadline looming the Bulls are popping up in several trade rumors (with the latest involving Jae Crowder). The NBA trade deadline is February 9th, so how this week goes could have a huge impact in how the Bulls choose to act. It probably shouldn’t be that vital, though. The writing is on the wall mostly for this group, especially with Lonzo Ball being nowhere near returning. A full blow-up of the core and roster might not be necessary, but tweaking around the core and trying to land some long-term solutions should be the approach. That said, pride could become a factor. Only time will tell.
Clippers: This might not be the best time to be running into the Clippers. But, then again, with how this Bulls group has played against the league’s best teams … maybe it is? L.A. LA Lost by 23 in Cleveland on Sunday with an incredibly shorthanded lineup, but prior to that they had won five in a row. Over that five-game win streak Kawhi Leonard averaged 30 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 4.8 APG. Paul George was great too, putting up 24.4 PPG, 6.6 APG, and 5.8 RPG. Over that win streak, the Clippers shot 42% or better in each game and eclipsed the 50% mark twice.
Hornets: I was hoping to put last week’s brutal loss in Charlotte behind me, but here come the Hornets again. And they’re getting healthy! Charlotte followed up the double-digit win over the Bulls with a five-point win at home over Miami. It would seem that with Ball back in the lineup and the group getting healthy they are starting to find some confidence. Charlotte does go to Milwaukee Tuesday night, so let’s hope the Bucks can knock them down a peg. After last week’s loss in Charlotte, this one feels like as much of a must-win as games can get.
Trail Blazers: It’s the Western Conference Bulls! Another team that has a talented roster failing to live up to expectations. As Eli mentioned last week, these two teams also could make for interesting trade partners. Portland can score, but they have really struggled defensively, especially over their last 9 games. In that stretch, they have allowed 119+ points eight times. When they’re shooting well, they can win a track meet, but if it’s an off night offensively, it’s a spot where the Bulls absolutely have to take advantage.