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Bulls vs. Pelicans game preview, injury report, lineups

Niko-less, E’Twaun-less, AD-Less New Orleans Pelicans

Detroit Pistons v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Chicago Bulls (12-41) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (23-31)

7 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago

Injury Report:

This is a long one...

The Bulls recalled Antonio Blakeney after assigning him to the G League yesterday. He put up a 23, seven, and five line last night in Hoffman Estates.

Wayne Selden Jr. was a full participant in practice on Tuesday after missing practice on Monday with a sore knee. Expect him to play tonight. Kris Dunn will play tonight after missing some practice time with a pelvic contusion. Zach LaVine is also battling soreness but participated in most of this week’s practices.

If you are a player of significance on the New Orleans Pelicans, chances are you are injured or being held out.

Although he is injured, tonight is still a subtle reminder that the Bulls recently had E’Twaun Moore on their roster. But in their eyes, four years, $34 million was too much of an investment to keep him around. Since not retaining Moore, the Bulls have cycled through nine (mostly bad) point guards while Moore has averaged 11.4 points per game on 48.6 percent from the field while shooting the ball from 3-point land at an over 40 percent clip.

Then there’s our old friend Nikola Mirotic, a guy who made his team 11 points per 100 possessions better last season on offense (with both the Pelicans and the Bulls). He’s actually hurt right now, robbing us of the much anticipated Bobby Portis versus Nikola Mirotic battle which is disappointing.

I was going to write in this section about the Holiday brothers reuniting tonight, but then I remembered that Justin Holiday was mercilessly traded away. Lucky guy.

AD

Between a finger injury and the saga surrounding a blockbuster trade that may or may not happen, Pelicans star Anthony Davis has missed the last eight games. The Pelicans are 2-6 without him.

The Pelicans have an 11-game cushion in the win column so it’s a long shot but if the Bulls mess around and go on a stupid winning streak like last year they suddenly may have another tanking competitor.

Lottery odds are flattened out, but a team still needs to be one of the three worst teams in the league to have the absolute best odds. The Bulls aren’t even that anymore.

Meanwhile, Davis participated in shootaround this morning yet he still isn’t playing assuring that the Pelicans will be a no good team for yet another night.

A different Chicago Homecoming:

Remember the Jahlil-Okafor-to-the-Bulls rumors? He’s doesn’t play defense. His game is stuck in the 90s.

That all may still be true, but he’s producing in AD’s absence. In the last eight games, Okafor has averaged 18.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

Not that Okafor fit into where the Bulls were heading when he was available. But it’s painfully (maybe delightfully depending on how you look at it) ironic that a guy who could have easily been a Bull is thriving with another team, while the homecoming they went with - for 10x the price - is not.

The TLC Era Begins:

Bulls fans need some TLC. Tender loving care. Not Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. Well, maybe they need both.

I actually like that the Bulls traded for TLC. He’s a former first-round pick with athleticism and perhaps untapped talent. He plays the three, a ghost town of a position for the Bulls right now. He’s also younger than Denzel Valentine, Bobby Portis, and Kris Dunn.

Having the luxury of throwing some of these young players at the wall and seeing what sticks is the beauty of being a rebuilding team. Take advantage of it.