7 p.m., WGN
Not good for the Bulls.
Lauri Markkanen is out for the season with symptoms of fatigue and rapid heart rate (yikes). Prayers that this is only a temporary setback and Markkanen will be okay.
A rotator cuff injury has now sidelined Otto Porter Jr. for five games and he remains without a timetable to return. Meanwhile, the Bulls list Zach LaVine (thigh) and Kris Dunn (back) as day-to-day.
With so many players injured [remember that Denzel Valentine, Wendell Carter Jr., and Chandler Hutchison had all previously sustained season-ending injuries], the Bulls have promoted another G League player to their big league roster, Walter Lemon Jr.
Lemon Jr. saw brief NBA playing time last season with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Meanwhile, the Raptors injury report is a bit less dramatic although still pretty bad. Kawhi Leonard is out for personal reasons. OG Anunoby left the game against the Bulls on Tuesday with a head injury. Although he passed concussion protocol, he didn’t play against the New York Knicks on Thursday. He won’t play tonight either. Patrick McCaw is out with a sprained thumb.
Last time the two teams played
These teams just met on Tuesday in Toronto. Behind 61 points from their bench, the Raptors took care of the Bulls 112-103. Wayne Selden Jr. led the Bulls with a tied-for-a-season-high 20 points.
Given the record and number of star players out, the Chicago Bulls are making it difficult to justify spending time watching them these last six games of the season.
There are Elite 8 games on at the same time as the Bulls. So maybe channel flip between the Bulls game, Texas Tech versus Gonzaga, and Purdue versus Virginia.
I’m not sure if Jim Boylen is a good coach [leaning towards no], but his hard ass attitude is at least entertaining and a bit endearing actually. Since the mutiny episode, the grizzled old coach has grown on me a bit especially after he high-fived all of his players after his ejection against the Los Angeles Clippers and after the video surfaced of him doing push-ups with his players at practice. Too freaking funny.
If you’re a fan of ‘90s basketball, that’s a reason to watch the Bulls tonight. Chicago ranks first in the NBA in points in the paint in the month of March and it’s probably not a coincidence that this occurred in a month where Robin Lopez is killing it [14.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game]. Got to love those post-ups.
Lopez is also on the last year of his contract, so get your full of RoLo while you still can.
Maybe the most compelling reason to watch the Bulls tonight though, all jokes aside, is that they genuinely play hard even though they aren’t talented. Guys like Shaquille Harrison, Wayne Selden Jr., and Ryan Arcidiacono are playing for their next contract so you know they are going to go hard. Cristiano Felicio and Kris Dunn are redemption projects so although they may not be very good, they’re going to play hard too. You’re also sprinkling in a bunch of G League guys [Brandon Sampson, Rawle Alkins, and Walter Lemon Jr.] who have everything to prove at this level.
It’s one thing to suck which the Bulls surely do. Like really bad. But at least this season, unlike in year’s past [cough--cough--the Three Alphas experiment] the Bulls at least play hard. That’s much appreciated and Boylen should be commended for his role in making that happen if nothing else.