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Bulls vs. Thunder game preview and open thread: back after a long week off

remember Bulls basketball? it’s back, in blog form

NBA: Preseason-Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls are back tonight. They had a break in there schedule expanded into a cavern after Tuesday’s game was postponed, to where now it’s been five days off since their last game.

Will the momentum of losing 75% of the games on their road trip yet not looking like trash be sustained?!?

Not only was there a break in games, but we should be seeing returning members to the rotation. Most notably Lauri Markkanen is expected to play for the first time in while, which will take some minutes away from others who played quite well in Lauri’s absence.

The Bulls came back from that road trip but headed right back out, as they are in Oklahoma City to face the Thunder. A team that faced the Bulls twice in the preseason, the Thunder came into this year selling off everything they had for picks a decade later, yet have actually played pretty well relative to expectations. Part of it is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander having a breakout age-22 season, but there’s been contributions from spare parts acquired in that selling offseason like Al Horford and George Hill.

They are still very shallow in number of true NBA rotation players, and have the 3rd-worst net rating in the league (and 2nd-worst offense). But they’re somehow at a record of 5-6, and likely have a lot of that ‘hey they don’t look terrible’ feel-goodery that also surrounds the Bulls at the moment.

Injury Report:

As mentioned, Markannen is probable to return. Otto Porter Junior Bacon Cheesburger was out last game due to a back issue, but he did practice this week and may play tonight. Garrett Temple is questionable with an ankle sprain. As far as I can tell, the rest of the Covid crew (Satoransky, Hutchison, Arcidiacono) remain out.

For the Thunder, I don’t really know much about Darius Bazley but he’s second on the team in minutes, so the fact that he’s questionable tonight has impact.

Game Time: 7pm Central, NBCSportsChicago PLUS (hockey’s back, and on the main channel)