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Bulls vs. Lakers Game Preview and Open Thread

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Lopez brother battle tonight

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls (18-30) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (18-29)

7 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago

Injury Report:

Polarizing rookie point guard Lonzo Ball will miss the game tonight with a left knee injury.

Kris Dunn was at the Advocate Center today, but there still isn’t a timetable for his return after he suffered a concussion after a nasty fall on a dunk against the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 17.

Zach LaVine could play between 26-28 minutes tonight against the Lakers, his highest total since returning from his ACL injury.

The Last Time:

In the second loss of what would become a ten-game losing streak, the Chicago Bulls fell in Los Angeles 103-94 as the Lakers weathered a 19-point deficit to rally for a win.

The other Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma poured in 22 points on 7-for-15 from the field and veteran guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 21 points as the Bulls folded down the stretch to the tune of shooting 13-for-45 in the second half.

This game was Dunn’s second start of the season and marked the occasion where he permanently stole the starting job from Jerian Grant. Dunn had 12 points, five rebounds, and six assists in this game.

Preview:

It’s highly likely that the actual game won’t be as exciting as the pregame banter between Robin Lopez and his twin brother Brook Lopez.

Ball’s absence kills the motivation of the crowd who would have tuned into this game purely to hate-watch Lonzo. But, the Lakers have a different exciting young talent.

The aforementioned Kuzma has been one of the best rookies in the NBA this season. His production has been even more remarkable because he was a late first-round pick by the Lakers.

He, Ball, 23-year-old Julius Randle, and 20-year-old Brandon Ingram comprise a nice young core for the Lakers. Those four players combine for about 55 points per game and all of them besides Ball shoot above 45 percent from the field.

Lopez and Caldwell-Pope are typically the veteran guys that hold this young core together. Lopez had one of his worst games of the season in the first matchup between the two teams (four points on 2-for-10 from the field), but has averaged 11.7 points per game this season on field goal percentages that have been below his career averages. Nonetheless, Lopez’s game patterns those of the stretch big men that always give the Chicago Bulls trouble.For those keeping count, the Chicago Bulls are 0-5 in “Brother Battles” (when Lopez, Justin Holiday, or Jerian Grant face their siblings in the NBA) this season.

If you want to feel depressed, take a gander at the Lakers bench and scan a 32-year-old Luol Deng who has played 13 minutes the entire season on a Los Angeles Lakers team that has won just 18 games. His fall from glory has been both swift and depressing, alongside others in Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose. Maybe a new team in the 3-v-3 league or something.

The current iteration of these Chicago Bulls come off a lethargic 115-101 loss against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. The Bulls are 1-2 since Dunn’s injury.

For those holding onto hope that the tank isn’t broken, this is an important night for the Bulls. The Lakers and the Bulls share identical records outside of one extra loss on the Bulls resume and losing twice to the Lakers would give the Bulls the tiebreaker in the lottery race.