It’s been a rough start to the new year for the Chicago Bulls. Adding in the demolition the Milwaukee Bucks gave them on December 28th, they lost back to back home games to the Jazz and Celtics before falling to Luka Doncic and the Mavericks on Monday. They still haven’t won in 2020 and are now in 11th place in the East with a record of 13-24. They are 3.5 games behind the 8th seeded Brooklyn Nets, but the Washington Wizards are only a half game back behind Chicago.
The Bulls have been playing better as of late but their opponents have gotten better. The Bulls need to try and stack up victories in games where they aren’t heavy underdogs. Tonight represents an opportunity to snap a losing streak as they take on below-.500 team missing two key players.
While they are sitting second to last in the Western Conference standings, the New Orleans Pelicans have been playing a lot better as of late and actually winning: going 6-4 in their last ten games.
New Orleans had a bad start to this week by dropping a game against the Utah Jazz despite Brandon Ingram scoring 35 points. With the Pelicans down two, Ingram drove to the basket, where Jazz center Rudy Gobert appeared to make clear contact but no foul was called and Utah escaped with a 128-126 win. After the Pelicans last second victory against the Kings two days earlier, this was a crushing loss.
New Orleans record now sits at 12-25 and they are two games behind the Suns for 13th place in the West. However they are only four games out of the 8th seed so if some of their key players can get healthy, don’t count out the Pelicans to make a late run towards a playoff spot.
Zion Williamson, the highly regarded No.1 draft pick, still hasn’t played a regular season game yet. However he has been participating in five on five drills yesterday so it’s expected that a season debut should happen sometime soon. Jrue Holiday, their star point guard, has been dealing with an elbow injury as of late. We are already a couple of months into the season and we still haven’t seen the Pelicans real starting lineup. But there is still time for them to right the ship. With Ingram having a career year along with the returns of Williamson and Holiday, the Pelicans will be a tough opponent on most nights.
Injury report: As for this game, both Williamson and Holiday are out. Kenrich Williams is listed as questionable with a back spasms. Darius Miller is still recovering from an Achilles injury he suffered earlier this season.
For the Bulls, Wendell Carter Jr. has been ruled out with a right ankle injury. He suffered a sprain against Dallas and had to leave the game. Both Lauri Markkanen and Daniel Gafford are probable with left ankle injuries.
There was no official announcement, but based on shootaround it looks like Thaddeus Young will start for Carter.
Game Time: 7PM CT
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Betting Odds: The Pelicans opened as five point favorites but it’s dropped to (-3.5). As for the O/U, it’s at 224.5 for most places.