Bulls Weekly Preview: Hawks, Bucks, Mavericks, and Pistons – April 3 – 9, 2023
One last week before the Playoffs begin, and the Bulls have a real chance to gain some ground on two of the teams ahead of them. Last week started out rough, but finishing 2-2 with a massive win over the Grizzlies at home feels like the momentum should keep riding into this week.
Let’s talk about that win on Sunday over the Grizzlies. The 2nd half was almost the exact reverse of what happened between these two teams in Memphis when the Bulls simply couldn’t score in the 3rd & 4th quarters. The Bulls trailed by 15 at the break before outscoring Memphis 40-16 in the 3rd quarter and 35-23 in the 4th.
The Bulls got all-around contributions, but it feels like we need to highlight DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Coby White. Zach was great and efficient. He finished with 36 points on 13-19 shooting and 3-8 from three-point range. DeMar added 31 points including 17 in the 2nd half. He also got to the free throw line a bunch and went 9-9 from there.
Coby White continued his excellent play off the bench, and that’s going to need to continue if the Bulls want to make any noise in the postseason. LaVine’s run since the All-Star break has been great, but Coby’s emergence off the bench has really extended the second unit and allowed this team to make the run that they’re on.
The Bulls are still a flawed bunch, but we’re starting to see the group we thought they were at the beginning of this season.
Meet the Opponents
4/4 vs Hawks: No Trae Young, Bulls are a game behind Atlanta for the 9th seed
4/5 vs Bucks: The Bulls have played the Bucks pretty well this year, maybe steal one here??
4/7 at Mavericks: Did Kyrie ALREADY break Dallas?
4/9 vs Pistons: Can’t let this one be close.
Bulls Projected Lineup
- Patrick Beverley
- Alex Caruso
- Zach LaVine
- DeMar DeRozan
- Nikola Vučević
Opponent Projected Lineup
- Dejounte Murray
- Bogdan Bogdanovic
- Saddiq Bey
- John Collins
- Clint Capela
- Jrue Holiday
- Grayson Allen
- Khris Middleton
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Brook Lopez
- Kyrie Irving
- Luka Doncic
- Tim Hardaway Jr
- Reggie Bullock
- Dwight Powell
- Killian Hayes
- Jaden Ivey
- Isaiah Livers
- Marvin Bagley III
- James Wiseman
Unavailable/Injured (at the start of the week)
Bulls: Alex Caruso PROBABLE (foot), Javonte Green PROBABLE (knee)
Hawks: Trae Young OUT (illness), De’Andre Hunter OUT (knee)
Bucks: Khris Middleton QUESTIONABLE (knee), Grayson Allen QUESTIONABLE (ankle), Jevon Carter PROBABLE (knee), Myers Leonard PROBABLE (calf)
Mavericks: Kyrie Irving PROBABLE (foot), Luka Doncic PROBABLE (thigh)
Pistons: Bojan Bogdanovic QUESTIONABLE (Achilles), Rodney McGruder QUESTIONABLE (foot), Alec Burks QUESTIONABLE (foot), Marvin Bagley III QUESTIONABLE (concussion)
- Bulls: 55.2 EFG% (11th), 13.5 TOV% (9th), 24.0 OREB% (28th), 111.8 DEFRTG (5th)
- Hawks: 53.9 EFG% (20th), 12.5 TOV% (2nd), 29.0 OREB% (10th), 115.6 DEFRTG (22nd)
- Bucks: 55.4 EFG% (10th), 14.2 TOV% (17th) 28.5 OREB% (14th), 110.6 DEFRTG (3rd)
- Mavericks: 56.6 EFG% (5th), 12.6 TOV% (3rd), 22.8 OREB% (30th), 115.9 DEFRTG (23rd)
- Pistons: 51.9 EFG% (27th), 14.9 TOV% (25th), 29.3 OREB% (8th), 117.8 DEFRTG (28th)
What to Watch For
- Bulls: Finishing hasn’t necessarily been something the Bulls have been great at this season, but if they can finish out these last four games 3-1 or better, they’ll have a really good chance to jump into the 9th seed. And possibly even the 8th seed. If they’re going to do that, they’ll need LaVine to continue his superstar run, the bench to keep producing, and the defense to continue to force turnovers and come up big. Will the Bulls be good enough to beat the Bucks, Celtics, or 76ers in a playoff series? Probably not. But the version of this team we’ve seen since Patrick Beverley’s arrival is one I’d love to see get a playoff series.
- Hawks: No Trae Young. No De’Andre Hunter. The Bulls are a game behind the Hawks for the 8th seed and the Raptors for the 9th seed. We’re catching a break with a shorthanded Hawks team in a vital spot on the schedule. If the Bulls can take care of business at home tonight, they have a great shot to move up. If they don’t, they can kiss about any chance at the 8th seed goodbye.
- Bucks: Similar to the Hawks being banged up, Milwaukee isn’t totally healthy either. They’re in Washington tonight and will be without Grayson Allen or Khris Middleton and possibly Jevon Carter. With this being a back-to-back for Milwaukee as well, there’s a chance we see both Allen and Middleton back on Wednesday night. But if the Bucks are trying to stay healthy for the playoffs, the Bulls might luck out again. The Bucks currently hold a two-game lead over Boston for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
- Mavericks: It’s hard to believe that Dallas is on the outside looking in from the Play-In picture, but here we are in the final week of the season with them trailing OKC by one game. Kyrie has put up decent numbers for Dallas, but he and Luka just haven’t worked together, and defensively Dallas has been a mess. Clearly, the Mavs are missing the role players they had last season. The Bulls are so much better defensively than Dallas, this seems like a spot where the Bulls need to flex those muscles.
- Pistons: Detroit is just circling the drain this season and is in prime contention for the No. 1 overall pick. There’s not too much to get in-depth about for this game other than the Bulls need to take care of business as they did in Charlotte last week. You got to beat bad teams!