Bulls Weekly Preview: Nuggets and Rockets – March 6-March 12, 2023

Listen, I was wrong. It takes a big person to admit when they were wrong and HOLY S**T was I wrong about the Bulls in my weekly preview last Monday. I bought into the Patrick Beverley hype. I bought into the defense that was firing on all cylinders. I bought into the new and improved efficient Zach LaVine (and if we’re being honest he was far from the problem this week).

But after a 1-3 week with losses plagued by the same old issues that have been around all year, I’m officially #done buying into the Bulls. And apparently, Nikola Vucevic might be too.

The Bulls can’t shoot threes, they don’t take care of the basketball, and they have no one that can distribute the ball consistently where it needs to be. We’re officially onto “can we get into the Top 4 so we don’t lose our pick” watch.

Just a pair of games for the Bulls this week: A matchup with the West-leading Nuggets in Denver, and a trip to Houston to play that basement-dwelling Rockets (who already have a win over the Bulls this season). Should be fun!

Meet the Opponents

  • 3/8 vs Nuggets: I’m not sure there’s a Jokic rebound total available where I wouldn’t take the over
  • 3/11 vs Rockets: The Bulls against a bad team, what could go wrong?
  • Bulls Projected Lineup

    1. Patrick Beverley
    2. Alex Caruso
    3. Zach LaVine
    4. DeMar DeRozan
    5. Nikola Vučević

    Opponent Projected Lineup

    Nuggets:

    1. Jamal Murray
    2. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
    3. Michael Porter Jr
    4. Aaron Gordon
    5. Nikola Jokic

    Rockets:

    1. Jalen Green
    2. Kevin Porter Jr
    3. Kenyon Martin Jr
    4. Jabari Smith Jr
    5. Alperen Sengun

    Unavailable/Injured (at the start of the week)

  • Nuggets: Thomas Bryant PROBABLE (hip, ankle), Vlatko Cancar QUESTIONABLE (wrist), Collin Gillespie DOUBTFUL (lower leg), Zeke Nnaji OUT (shoulder)
  • Rockets: None
  • Four Factors

  • Bulls: 54.9 EG% (13th), 13.8 TOV% (10th), 23.8 OREB% (28th), 22.5 FTA/GM (24th)
  • Nuggets: 58.0 EGF% (1st), 14.9 TOV% (23rd), 28.6 OREB% (12th), 22.5 FTA/GM (23rd)
  • Rockets: 51.4 EFG% (28th), 16.5 TOV% (30th), 34.2 OREB% (1st), 25.5 FTA/GM (6th)
  • What to Watch For:

    Bulls: To be honest, I’m not really sure what to watch for with this team. I’m interested to see what fight they have left, but they have such obvious flaws that the front office refused to address at the deadline. Beverley is a nice addition, but he’s a role player on a playoff team. The defense is good. LaVine came back from the All-Star break with a chip on his shoulder and has looked great. But they still allow way too many offensive rebounds, they still turn the ball over too much, and they still can’t shoot three-pointers with any consistency. The Bulls shot 60 percent from the field to the Pacers 51 percent and 45 percent from three compared to the Pacers 36 percent, but the Pacers attempted twice the amount of threes. They hit 16 threes to the Bulls’ 10. That’s 18 more points right there. The Pacers grabbed 13 offensive rebounds, the Bulls grabbed just 4. So if you’re allowing more second chances than you’re getting and you’re being outscored from 3 by that many points, you’re not going to win many games.

    Nuggets: To be honest, I’m pretty excited to watch the game Wednesday night because I’m excited to watch Denver. They’re such a good and efficient basketball team, and Jamal Murray coming back this season healthy has really provided the true Robin to the Batman that is Nikola Jokic. Jokic is well on his way to his 3rd consecutive MVP, and it seems like this year’s Nuggets team is better suited to make a playoff run than either of the last two Jokic-MVP seasons.

    Rockets: When putting together the four factors section of this preview, I was a little shocked to see the Rockets leading in OREB%. That could spell problems for this Bulls team that really struggles on the glass at times. Houston has lost 11 of their last 13, with the only wins coming in back-to-back games over the also-taking Spurs. Houston’s not a good team, but they’ve beaten the Bulls already this season so there will be some confidence there.

    written by

    Matt is from the Chicagoland area and has been working in Chicago sports since 2015 with stops at WGN Radio, the Chicago Blackhawks, Stadium, and NBC Sports Chicago prior to landing at Betsperts. Matt covers just about everything for Betsperts and Bleacher Nation but focuses on the NHL and college football.

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