The Chicago Bulls surprised a lot of people last year.
They brought in DeMar DeRozan and basically allowed Zach LaVine and DeRozan to hoop. That’s a strategy that we’ve seen at times with the Houston Rockets over the past couple of years, and we’ve seen it fail far more times than it has succeeded.
So it’s a testament to DeRozan, Lavine, the supporting cast (like Nikola Vucevic, who probably doesn’t belong in a “supporting cast” grou), and the coaching staff. At one point they were 39-21 and on a 53-win pace. That’s the exact number the Miami Heat ended the season with in claiming first place in the East. However, they closed with a 7-15 stretch and finished in sixth place, where they were handed a gentlemen’s sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Unfortuantely for them, this season has started similarly to how last season ended. The Bulls are 14-18 and sitting in 11th place. Unlike Houston’s last opponent Dallas, whose point differential had them as more of a 4 seed than a play-in team, the Bulls’ point differential basically says that 11th place is about where they are right now. On any given night though, Chicago’s weapons can score 120 points and send you packing. The Bulls have also played four fewer home games than road games, but of course that will even out as we move forward.
For Houston, Eric Gordon is day-to-day and Jae’Sean Tate is still out. On the Chicago side, Alex Caruso is out with a concussion, and Javonte Green (knee) and Derrick Jones Jr. (ankle) are both listed as doubtful. Lonzo Ball has not played since January and has not resumed on-court activities.
Tip-off is at 7pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest