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Bulls joust with Nets for second time in three nights

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Bulls tank and Pelicans pick implications galore tonight...not that you should watch

Minnesota Timberwolves v Chicago Bulls
“what is the meaning of a tank?”
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chicago Bulls (27-53) at Brooklyn Nets (27-53)

6:30 p.m., NBC Chicago Sports Network

Injury Report:

I’m only rehashing this because it’s outrageous getting a visualization of how freaking long the Chicago Bulls injury report is at this point in the season.

Antonio Blakeney, Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and Denzel Valentine are out for the season. Paul Zipser is out again with the foot injury that continues to ail him. Noah Vonleh is out with a calf injury that has forced him to miss the last two games.

The Brooklyn Nets injury report is also long.

DeMarre Carroll is out again with a hip injury, ditto Isaiah Whitehead who will undergo surgery to fix a ligament injury in his right wrist. Caris LeVert is doubtful for this game because of right foot tendonitis.

Dante Cunningham and Jahlil Okafor are both available to play tonight.

Season Series:

The Nets are one of the few bottom-dwelling teams that the Bulls have tanked correctly against this season. In the first two matchups between the two teams, the Nets have won by 17 and 28 points respectively.

In a 104-87 win at the Barclays Center on Feb. 26, Nets rookie Jarrett Allen thankfully only looked like it ended Lauri Markkanen’s life.

On Friday, the Bulls really didn’t show up to play as the Nets netted (ha, I’m funny) 24 3-point field goals which was one shy of tying the NBA record.

Preview:

There are two things that matter for the final two games of the season.

1). No career-alternating injuries and 2). draft positioning. The Bulls have long since said screw that player development crap for now, as even Omer Asik is getting time over Robin Lopez.

With the season winding down, here’s how the Tankathon.com standings stack up.

So, with two games remaining the Bulls could end up anywhere between sixth and ninth in the tank standings. Realistically though, they’ll probably end up at No. 7.

  • The Sacramento Kings play the San Antonio Spurs (who are still fighting for playoff positioning) and the Houston Rockets. With no incentive to win at this point either, the Kings should lose both games securing at least that sixth spot.
  • Ideally, the Bulls take care of business and lose tonight planting themselves firmly ahead of the Nets in the standings. A loss against the Detroit Pistons would secure the No. 7 spot in the standings for the Bulls (assuming that the Kings lose out which we’re going with given this is the most likely way things will play out).
  • If the Bulls lose out (which they should do) the worst they could do is No. 7. If the Bulls lose out and the Kings win one of their final two games then it’s the Bulls slotting in at No. 6.
  • If the Bulls win tonight, they could still finish at No. 7 if the Nets beat the Boston Celtics in their finale and the Bulls lose to the Pistons. In this scenario, the New York Knicks could tie the Nets and the Bulls at No. 7 if they lose out.

As for the New Orleans Pelicans pick, that could still end up in the lottery. The Pelicans sit at No. 5 in the Western Conference standings but four other teams are tied or within one game of them right now. The Pelicans have the Los Angles Clippers and the Spurs left on the slate. The Pelicans can move up in the standings too. They are two games from the No. 3 seed so that upward trajectory is a possibility too.