[Thanks to poker_puncher for today's game preview -yfbb]
Good day everyone! Long time reader, first time previewer on BaB. I'm attending my first game ever (always wanted to have it at the UC, but it's getting harder because of the schedule and costs) thanks to the Christmas present from my girlfriend. And of course, with my luck, it came with one of the most dysfunctional Bulls team of recent memory.
On recent news, Bulls lost Joakim Noah for the season, Derrick Rose got injured again (update: looks like he's good to go), Jimmy is injured and plans to play based on a bet, and Pau is not going to be traded. Oh, I forgot, Niko had a fucking appendectomy. Things continue looking bleaker by the moment. That's not to mention that we have a coach who looks completely clueless 90% of the time and our FO is just bad. But hey, we might have that Kings pick coming our way! Progress!
On the other end, the Lakers are a hot mess - but a hot mess that seems to have an ending. Kobe and his huge contract is retiring at the end of the season, they have a Top 3 pick heading their way on the upcoming draft and keeping Byron Scott should guaranteeing them another Top 5 pick next season. Rebuilding around Russell, Randle, Clarkson and the next top 5 picks doesn't seem so terrible.
About the game today, we might see the following lineups:
Rose - Russell (Lou Williams is doubtful)
Butler - Clarkson
Snell - Kobe
Gibson - Randle
Gasol - Hibbert
Some good news: missing Niko and Jo means Bobby Portis gets some minutes. He's still raw as a rookie and lacking on the defensive end, but getting more and more burn will only help his progress. At this point of the season, one looks at everything.
I think the Bulls win a close one tonight, even though they will be missing Noah, Mirotic, MDJ and Kurt. This looks like a game in which Pau will do fine (I think Hibbert is a good matchup for him) and Jimmy should also get his.