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Chicago Bulls vs. Dallas Mavericks: Preview, Injury Report, and Open Thread

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Luka is in town

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls (20-40) vs. Dallas Mavericks (37-24)

NBC Sports Chicago; 7:00 p.m.

Injury Report:

Otto Porter is back? For real? If indeed true, it’ll be Porter’s first game since the first week of November.

But this still may not be the time for evaluation, as Lauri Markkanen is still not back, and Zach LaVine is questionable to miss his first game of the season with a quad injury.

For the Mavs, Luka is probable to play but Kristaps Porziņģis is getting the ‘load management’ treatment because it’s the Bulls. Jalen Brunson is also out for Dallas.

The Last Time:

A road game against a Western Conference playoff team.

The Bulls lost as you’d expect, but they were more competitive than you would have thought.

Luka Doncic’s triple-double was the difference, as he dropped 38 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and dished out 10 assists. Despite a sprained ankle, Lauri Markkanen had one of his better games of the season scoring 26 points. This was also the game Wendell Carter Jr. sprained his ankle.

Preview:

Twenty two games to go.

...and the schedule ain’t easy.

Thirteen of those games come against teams with a record over .500. Let’s generously say the Bulls win two of those games.

The remaining nine come against teams below .500. Let’s very generously say the Bulls win five of those giving them a 7-15 record over the last 22 games.

They’d finish with a 27-55 record. That’s the same record they had during the 2017-2018 season, the first year of the rebuild. There are currently five teams within two games of the Bulls in the standings so the jockeying for the bottom is going to be an interesting battle to watch down the stretch.

A recurring theme that I’ll add anytime I do a preview for the rest of the season is ‘why should you watch’ bullet points:

  • Luka Doncic. The 21-year-old Slovenian is one of the most electrifying do-it-all stars in the NBA. Without Kris Dunn available, the Bulls really don’t have a chance to stop him.
  • Okay, I get it that not everybody likes Neil Funk at this stage of his career. But, the guy is retiring after the season and has given nearly three decades of service to the Chicago Bulls as their radio and television voice. He’s a legend, has called some of the Bulls most iconic moments, and personally I think that he and Stacey King are a fantastic duo out there. The days of hearing Funk’s voice during Bulls telecasts are winding down. Enjoy it while it lasts please.