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Bulls vs. Lakers game preview: the Chicago visit for LeBron (and not much else)

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weird Lakers thing

NBA: Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

7pm, NBC Sports Chicago

We’re really into that weird end-of-regular-season time where the games don’t matter and it’s tough to get any useful evidence from them. Except perhaps negative evidence like Kris Dunn still being bad? I’d argue -and should in a more well thought out fashion - that this occurs earlier like after the trade deadline. And this Boylen surge is fools gold. Just don’t retain Boylen next year and tell us it’s because of this great Otto Porterprovement, please please please.

Back to tonight in particular: despite (or maybe because of?) Boylen’s dummy motivational tactics, the Bulls did not treat their weekend home-and-home against the Pistons like a playoff series, as they lost both games pretty handily and sat Zach LaVine out the second game.

LaVine is also out tonight, officially with knee soreness (the non-ACL knee) and it appears that he undoubtedly has been nicked up this wouldn’t be an issue if the Bulls were actually in a competitive part of their season anymore.

And speaking of, the Lakers have quickly pivoted away from playoff contention towards the bottom. This is an interesting byproduct of the flattened lottery odds: it’s kind of working where the truly-dreadful aren’t sabotaging themselves too much (the Suns are 5-5 in their last ten and have wins over the Bucks and Warriors, maybe their coach deserves some praise from ownership!), but now it’s more appealing to get from just missing the playoffs to one of the higher slots.

And the Lakers are now on a 5 game losing streak, 11th in the tankathon but merely 3 games away from 6th. That would improve their Zion chances from merely 2% to 9%, but their top-4 odds jump from 9.4% to 37.2%.

They’ve shut down Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram for the season. Kyle Kuzma and Tyson Chandler are questionable for this game. LeBron James will play but may on a minutes restriction.

I dunno, it’s tough to really be concerned about our ‘spirit’ in these nihilistic final weeks.