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Chicago Bulls vs. Houston Rockets: Preview, Injury Report, and Open Thread

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Houston, Rockets are a problem

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Chicago Bulls (3-6) vs. Houston Rockets (5-3)

NBC Sports Chicago Plus; 7:00 P.M.

Injury Report:

Otto Porter Jr. is out with a sprained left foot. Chandler Hutchison will start in his place. A timetable hasn’t been set for Porter’s return. Denzel Valentine was recalled from the GLeague (where he had 25 points Friday), and should be active in Porter’s place.

For the Rockets, Nene and Gerald Green are both out with long-term injuries. Eric Gordon is listed as day-to-day with a hamstring issue but was projected to play.

Preview:

Party in Hoffman Estates!

...because the Chicago Bulls may have an elite G League squad this year.

Denzel Valentine is one of those guys who is too good for the G League but not quite good enough to crack an NBA rotation, Daniel Gafford should probably be getting meaningful NBA minutes if head coach Jim Boylen was really serious about developing 15 guys, Max Strus almost made an NBA roster on a regular contract, and one of the Denver Nuggets two-way contract guys (PJ Dozier) plays for the Windy City Bulls because the Nuggets don’t have a G League squad. Bol Bol is also with the Nuggets on a two-way contract so he will end up in Hoffman Estates as well.

So, the Bulls could have four two-way players on their G League squad at some point this season. A good reason to make the trip west to the Sears Center to catch a game or two. NBC Sports Chicago will also be broadcasting 17 Windy City Bulls home games this season if you aren’t into the paying-to-watch-minor-league-basketball thing (low key Windy City Bulls games are a blast though).

Which brings me to my next point which has nothing to do with what I was just talking about.

Cristiano Felicio. Who forgot that he was on the team? He’s in year three of a $52 million contract. He hasn’t played a minute this season. I haven’t even noticed him on the bench.

I Googled his name and the last real news about him was when he visited a haunted house with Lauri Markkanen three weeks ago.

Back to some relevant chatter. The Bulls put together their best effort of the season on Wednesday evening against the Atlanta Hawks. Tomas Satoransky played arguably the best game of his career, Boylen made some good adjustments, and everybody was happy for at least one night.

But extending the wining streak to two games won’t be easy.

First, props to James Harden and Russell Westbrook for silencing the naysayers and sharing the court effectively this season so far. When they play together, the Rockets are 3.4 points per 100 possessions better than their opponent. Not exactly what you want from a superstar duo, but still a lot better than many people thought.

Since it’s become a theme to do former Bulls watch in these previews, it’s worth mentioning the Rockets boast a pair of former Bulls. Tyson Chandler has been in the league for approximately a gazillion years. He’s 37 years young, doesn’t play much for the Rockets. His middle name is Cleotis.

Thabo Sefolosha is on the Rockets too. He’s 35 years old and like Chandler doesn’t play a ton.

Stat:

The Bulls force 19 turnovers per game, the most in the NBA.

Quote:

A very smart Bulls writer isn’t ready to give up on the season quite yet (Stephen Noh of The Athletic).

Things may seem bleak for the Bulls, but there are still 73 games left to figure this out. There’s no point in sugarcoating it — some concern is definitely warranted. But there is still enough time for them to turn this thing around, and the coaching has to get more consistent for that to happen.

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