This game is likely to stink tonight.
In a great detailed piece over at The Athletic, Stephen Noh went into the Bulls offensive changes under Hoiberg. Not just that they’re bad (95.1 offensive rating, so historically bad), but also how they’re bad: too many shots late in the shot clock and from midrange. They’re also more boring, with yes a better defense but also at a slower pace.
Now this strategy happened to result in wins for 2 games in the Boylen era, one slog with Kris Dunn going dawg (or whatever) on Saturday in San Antonio, and another earlier this month over the Thunder, who they rematch tonight in Oklahoma City.
In that game, it was a great Lauri Markkanen performance including the game-winner that gave the Bulls the W. Since then, as Noh pointed out, Markkanen himself has seen a lagging shooting performance in Boylen’s offense.
And the really foreboding thing is that the Thunder are still the best defense in basketball, though at a top-10 pace factor. And the Bulls are still without Zach LaVine, maybe for a while, though Dunn in particular seems to function better with LaVine out (and boy isn’t that great for development of ‘the corrrrre’).
Elsewhere on the injury front for the Bulls, Jabari Parker - who’s reportedly on the trade block - is likely out with the same stomach bug that has infected a whole lot of the Bulls in Mexico (stealing a joke: maybe Bulls too cheap to buy bottled water?), and Two-Way player Rawle Alkins is potentially active as a result.
For the Thunder, no recent injuries besides the continual Andre Roberson will-knee or won’t-knee since last season.
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