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Bulls vs. Hornets game preview and open thread

kinda winnable?

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls are on the road still but had 2 days off before tonight’s tilt in Charlotte against the Hornets. I suppose we can’t account for the gritmaster general’s practices ruining any chance at rest but it still is better than playing in back-to-back games.

The Bulls are riding a one-game winning streak as they somehow won on a back-to-back in Miami last time on the floor. It wasn’t that thrilling of a win, the pace was slow and the important players weren’t fantastic, but it was likely good for the locker room to have at least some kind of positive affirmation when saddled with this horrible half-season to go.

It was definitely a story, though the meaning is debatable, that the Bulls won that game without Zach LaVine. It’s only been 6 games when this is the case, but with Boylen and without LaVine they play a lot differently and have much more objective success.

That matters not though as LaVine is back tonight. Wayne Selden - who had his best game a Bull on Wednesday, was also probable but will play. Jabari Parker is out, known in advance and excused, for personal reasons. New acquisition Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is also not with the team yet.

For the Hornets, Cody Zeller remains out like the usual 64% of his career. They are in the playoffs for now, in that 3rd tier 2 games behind Brooklyn for 6th but 2.5 over the 9th place Pistons. Just reason again why still having conferences is insane, where a team like New Orleans or Minnesota is debating whether to hump that tank while the Hornets are ‘in a playoff race’ because of something arbitrary like geography.

Like, in a conference-free life there wouldn’t have even been 10% plausible dreams the Bulls would make the playoffs. To a point where even Bulls management wouldn’t believe it. Instead they get to measure themselves preseason against a team like the Hornets instead of, say, the Nuggets (let alone the best of the best) and delude themselves.

Gametime is at 6, locally on WGN. Neil Funk has been mercifully absent the past 2 games but I bet he’s not held out for a third, though maybe as the Bull have another several days off after this until their home game against the Pelicans on Wednesday.

I am extremely not-worried about the precious tank, there’s no way a Boylen led group can make up the 5.5 games they’re behind the Hawks, so they’re getting a top-4 lottery position which at worst is 12.5% chance at #1 versus 14%. It is extremely uncool to be ‘concerned’ that the team will look good and win too many games. They will likely suck, and if they don’t that will be a pleasant surprise. I look forward to telling everyone how to think for the rest of the season, fear not.