Bulls Weekly Preview: Clippers, Lakers, Hornets, and Grizzlies – March 27 - April 2, 2023

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Bulls Weekly Preview: Clippers, Lakers, Hornets, and Grizzlies – March 27 – April 2, 2023

Chicago Bulls

We’re having fun watching Bulls basketball again!

Another big week for the Bulls brings them to within just a half-game of both the Raptors and Hawks for the 9th and 8th seeds in the East.

It was awesome seeing the Bulls go into Philly last week on Monday and come away with a win, but it was the way they bounced back from the embarrassing loss on Wednesday in the rematch that impressed me most. The Bulls completely no-showed Wednesday night at home against Philly, but proceeded to take care of business Friday night in Portland and controlled the Lakers from start to finish in LeBron James’ surprising return on Sunday.

Zach LaVine was great again this week, or at least in the latter two games. After not the greatest performances in the home-and-home with Philly, LaVine bounces back in a big way when the Bulls went out West. In the Blazers & Lakers games, LaVine scored a combined 65 points, shot 57.1 percent from three, and 64.1 percent from the field.

Coby White really had himself a great week off the bench, as well. He scored in double-digits in all four games last week, drained 3+ three-pointers in three of the four games, and recorded 15 assists in the last two games. Not only is he producing offensively, but Coby has really shown a lot of growth on the defensive end as well.

Four more games this week … how does another stretch of 3-1 sound?

Meet the Opponents

3/27 vs Clippers: It’s going to be a late one. Let’s go for the L.A. sweep!

3/29 vs Lakers: Patrick Beverley > LeBron James???

3/31 vs Hornets: Is it fair that this is the game I’m most terrified about this week?

4/2 vs Grizzlies: I’m really loving these 2:30 Sunday matinee games!

Bulls Projected Lineup

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

Opponent Projected Lineup

Los Angeles Clippers

  1. Russell Westbrook
  2. Eric Gordon
  3. Kawhi Leonard
  4. Marcus Morris Sr
  5. Ivica Zubac

Los Angeles Lakers

  1. D’Angelo Russell
  2. Austin Reaves
  3. LeBron James
  4. Jarred Vanderbilt
  5. Anthony Davis

Charlotte Hornets

  1. Dennis Smith Jr
  2. Terry Rozier
  3. Gordon Hayward
  4. P.J. Washington
  5. Mark Williams

Memphis Grizzlies

  1. Ja Morant
  2. Desmond Bane
  3. Dillon Brooks
  4. Xavier Tillman
  5. Jaren Jackson Jr

Unavailable/Injured (at the start of the week)

Bulls: Javonte Green QUESTIONABLE (knee), Alex Caruso QUESTIONABLE (foot), Lonzo Ball OUT (knee)

Clippers: Kawhi Leonard PROBABLE (face), Norman Powell QUESTIONABLE (shoulder), Paul George OUT (knee), Brandon Boston Jr OUT (lower body)

Lakers: D’Angelo Russell QUESTIONABLE (hip), Mo Bamba DOUBTFUL (ankle)

Hornets: Terry Rozier QUESTIONABLE (foot), Kelly Oubre Jr QUESTIONABLE (shoulder)

Grizzlies: Vince Williams QUESTIONABLE (shoulder), Ziaire Williams OUT (foot/ankle), Steven Adams OUT (knee), Brandon Clark OUT (Achilles)

Four Factors

Bulls: 55.1 EFG% (13th), 13.7 TOV% (10th), 24.2 OREB% (28th), 111.7 DEFRTG (5th)

Clippers: 54.7 EFG% (15th), 14.3 TOV% (19th), 27.4 OREB% (19th), 113.3 DEFRTG (12th)

Lakers: 53.9 EFG% (19th), 13.8 TOV% (11th), 26.7 OREB% (23rd), 113.3 DEFRTG (13th)

Hornets: 51.3 EFG% (30th), 13.5 TOV% (9th), 27.7 OREB% (16th), 114.5 DEFRTG (20th)

Grizzlies: 53.8 EFG% (20th), 13.3 TOV% (7th), 30.6 OREB% (6th), 110.3 DEFRTG (3rd)

What to Watch For

  • Bulls: As great as Zach LaVine has been and as important as he’s been to this turnaround, the bench has been so impressive in recent weeks. I mentioned Coby White’s run of success lately, and he’s truly been awesome. But Patrick Williams has also really taken the next step as a defender, and he’s picked things up on the offensive end, too. The Bulls’ second unit really has had no drop-off defensively during this run of success, and against L.A. they were able to spark a big-time run that created the separation the team needed to pull away from the Lakers.

  • Clippers: It’s the Russell Westbrook Bowl! Well, sort of! Back in February Russ chose the Clippers over the Bulls, which led the Bulls to end up with Patrick Beverley. Hard not to think that the Bulls probably ended up benefitting from that choice. Who knows how Russ would have been here, but Pat Bev has provided the organization with a huge spark, and he’s really helped tighten things up defensively. The Clippers will be without Paul George for a few weeks, and while Kawhi Leonard is a little banged up, he will probably play on Monday.
  • Lakers: I’m guessing by this point we will have a healthier LeBron James and probably see him in the starting lineup. LeBron loves playing the Bulls and he loves playing in Chicago. It’s also hard to think he won’t want a little revenge on Patrick Beverley for the “too short” trolling. All of that said, the Bulls just went into Los Angeles and handled the Lakers. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to do it again at home – unless LeBron goes totally off, I guess.

  • Hornets: The Hornets are bad, but they can also be dangerous if the Bulls are sleepwalking. They just got through sweeping the Mavericks in a home-and-home series, and we know what they did to the Bulls earlier this year in Charlotte. For as well as the Bulls are playing, having this game come after two L.A. games and before a big matchup with Memphis could very well make it a trap game. The Hornets also won both of those battles against Dallas without Terry Rozier, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him play on Friday. You just can’t overlook this one.
  • Grizzlies: The Grizzlies aren’t a good matchup for the Bulls. They’re big and physical down low, they rebound the ball really well, they’re 3rd in the NBA in defensive rating (the Bulls are 5th, maybe looking at the under here), and they’re playing really good basketball as of late winning six in a row and eight of their last nine games. This is a really interesting test for the Bulls. When they last played, the Bulls were right there with Memphis up until the 4th quarter when they couldn’t hit a shot. This game will be about containing Ja Morant. Defensively, the Bulls are built better to do that now than they were in early February.

Author: Matt Rooney

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.