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Bulls vs. Clippers Game Preview: start of a potentially loss-filled West Coast trip

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the Boylen boys are not giving up

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Chicago Bulls Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls (19-50) at Los Angeles Clippers (39-30)

9:30 p.m., WGN

Injury Report:

Zach LaVine WILL start tonight. He hasn’t played in a week, sitting the last two games with knee soreness.

When reporters broached the topic after LaVine practiced yesterday, here was his response:

“I’ve already missed enough games, I feel like, for my career. I missed a whole year and a half because of that. It made me really miss the game of basketball. That’s what I love to do, even in the summertime. I play basketball. I work out because that’s just who I am. So I like being on the floor. I just don’t like missing games.”

Everyone associated with the Bulls insists they’re “not prioritizing lottery positioning”.

In his return from a knee injury, Zion Williamson netted 29 points on 13-for-13 from the field with 14 rebounds and five steals in an ACC tourney game against Syracuse last night. Maybe prioritizing draft position should be a bit higher on the to-do list?

Otto Porter Jr. is listed as questionable tonight after missing practice on Wednesday with a bruised left knee.

On the Clippers side of things, Danilo Gallinari is listed as questionable for tonight with a sore left ankle.

The First Meeting:

Behind a first career triple-double from Lou Williams, the Clippers dropped the Bulls 106-101 on Jan. 25 at the United Center. He’s only the second player in NBA history to record a triple-double off the bench (the first was Detlef Schrempf).

This was the game where there was a snowstorm and like 10 people showed up to the United Center and it took the Clippers like three hours to get to the UC from the Loop (should have divvy biked).

Preview:

It’s still weird to write about the Los Angles Clippers and not be able to talk about since-departed stars Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan. They then dealt Tobias Harris (the main return for Griffin) this past trade deadline.

Despite all the recent turnover, the Clippers are hanging out in the eighth spot in the playoff standings with a comfortable five game lead over the Sacramento Kings with 13 games to go.

Lou Williams could easily win Sixth Man of the Year honors every single season. In his age 32 season, he hasn’t slowed down much. The 27.7 points per 36 minutes he averages this season is a career high and he’s done this coming off the bench in all 63 games he’s appeared in this season. Quietly, Landry Shamet - acquired from the Sixers for Harris - has been one of the better rookies in the NBA, averaging 12.1 points per game (eighth among NBA rookies if you only take his time with the Clippers) and shooting the ball from deep at a 46.9 percent clip in the 13 games since he’s came to the Clippers. Shamet isn’t the only young player on the Clippers with promising early returns. Former Kentucky point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has averaged 10.1 points per game on fairly efficient shooting and is looking like a good value at the No. 11 spot in the 2018 NBA draft.

The Bulls will also get a first-hand look at Patrick Beverley, a Chicago native who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Bulls are in the market for a veteran point guard....

Veteran head coach Doc Rivers deserves a lot of credit for what he has done with a team that wasn’t expected to do much this season. Since the trade deadline, the Clippers have held it together posting a 9-5 record since Harris’s departure.