After dropping the first three games of the 2018-19 season, the Chicago Bulls finally got into the win column on Wednesday. Much thanks to the heroics of Zach LaVine and Cameron Payne going berserk from three-point (career high 7 made three-pointers), the Bulls were able to get past Charlotte 112-110. From a morale standpoint, it must feel great for the Bulls to finally come out the victors after the meltdown in the 4th against Dallas and the close loss against Detroit last Saturday. Now the Bulls go on the road, to again play these same Hornets.
The Bulls injury report is one more than before. After colliding with Tony Parker during the second half of Wednesday’s game, it was reported that Bobby Portis would miss 4-6 weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee. He now joins Lauri Markkanen, Denzel Valentine, and Kris Dunn as the Bulls who are sidelined for an extended period. Cam Payne rolled his ankle on Wednesday but there is nothing on the pre-game report to suggest him missing the game.
One option Chicago is entertaining, as told by John Paxson himself, is starting Chandler Hutchison as a small-ball four. This would be an interesting idea as it would test the rookie early in how he can guard bigger guys. Starting Hutchison would also keep Jabari Parker with the bench unit, where he has played decently well. Hutchison had a good game against Charlotte, scoring 8 points and for the first time all season, looked comfortable on the court. He was aggressive in attacking the basket and helped the bench make a big impact offensively. With Chicago even more shorthanded, bigger performances from random guys off the bench is necessary.
Not much has changed about the Hornets since Chicago played them on Wednesday. That last game may have been a bit of a schedule loss, as they were wrapping up a 4-game road trip in six days. Cody Zeller suffered a face laceration on Wednesday from an inadvertent elbow from LaVine on a drive, but got stitches and was able to return. Other than him, it looks all good on the Hornets front.
Offensively, they are still going to try and swing the ball around and to find the best shot or a matchup which Kemba Walker can exploit. He put up 23 in the last matchup and played a decent game with the exception of the late turnover which gave the ball over to LaVine. Although they won’t be guarding each other, this game will come down to who can have a bigger impact offensively between Walker and LaVine. It was LaVine’s two free throws with 0.5 seconds left which sealed the deal on the Hornets. He notched another 30-point game and given Chicago’s injury situation, he should be in line to cross that mark again.
Game Time: 6 PM CT