Outside of Zach LaVine, who scored 34 points on 11 of 17 shooting, they struggled to get into any rhythm when it came to knocking down shots. Despite having four starters in double figures Chicago shot just 43 percent from the field (50.8% true shooting) and 30.4 percent from three. It was nothing like the offensive barrage we saw in the preseason. The bench struggled to make an offensive impact as well, combing for just 10 points on the night compared to the 32 of the Pistons. But the Bulls were able to make enough plays late to seal the victory. Patrick Williams had a good stop and LaVine knocked down free throws when needed to walk out of Little Caesars Arena with a 94-88 win.
It wasn’t the best performance we could have seen from Chicago but they did get the win (most important) and their defense stepped up by holding Detroit to less than 90 points and 40 percent shooting on the night. Also, it is just the first game of the season so we can’t make strong takeaways from these games just yet. The Bulls now have a chance to make it two wins in a row to start the regular season as tonight is their home opener.
Chicago’s opponent will be the New Orleans Pelicans. The two teams are quite familiar with each other already as they not only traded with each other in the offseason but also faced off in the preseason. That game ended in a Bulls 121-85 blowout win. The Pelicans started their regular season on Wednesday but weren’t able to get the victory against the Philadelphia 76ers. Brandon Ingram scored 25 and Nickel Alexander-Walker had 22 but they gave up 36 points in the fourth quarter as they lost 117-97. Tonight is the first of a three game road trip for New Orleans. They have a trip to Minnesota after this for back to back games against the Timberwolves on Saturday and Monday.
The Bulls defense was sound last game and will now have to focus on stopping Ingram. He didn’t play in their preseason meeting but has shown that he can score with ease if defenses give him the opportunity. It will be interesting on who on this Chicago starting lineup matches up with him. We could see Patrick Williams be deployed to stop him. We will also need to a better performance from the Bulls bench in this one. Outside of Alex Caruso defensively, the reserves struggled to make an impact against Detroit. Maybe Billy Donovan tries to insert one of the four guys who got a DNP-CD on Wednesday (DJJ, Tony Bradley, Marko Simonovic, Matt Thomas) into the rotation to give Chicago a spark. It’s still early in the season so the rotation still needs some sorting out when it comes to some of the bench guys and their pecking order.
Patrick Williams suffered a shoulder injury against Detroit as revealed by Donovan. But on the injury report he’s listed as available so he should be good to go. Coby White is still out with a shoulder injury.
As for New Orleans, they will be missing Zion Williamson as he recovers from a right foot fracture, and Josh Hart who has tendinosis in his right quad.
Game Time: 7PM CT
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Odds: Chicago is a six point favorite in this one but you can find places that offers the Bulls at -6.5 too. The over/under is set at most sites at 222.5 but you can find 223 as well (all info via the Action Network).