It was so much fun on Monday reuniting with Tom Thibodeau and Taj Gibson that the NBA powers decided to do it all over again tonight.
The Bulls escaped with a 110-102 victory in a game that felt closer than it needed to be. Lauri Markkanen netted 30 points, supplemented by the efficient scoring of Zach LaVine (21 points on 8-for-16 from the field) and double-digit scoring from all the starters and super reserve Thaddeus Young.
I’m also going to note that Taj Gibson didn’t play a single minute which probably made particularly nostalgic Bulls fans (like me) pretty sad.
Like always, the Eastern Conference is a bit of a crap show once you get past the first four or five teams. At 8-11, the Bulls currently sit at No. 10 in the conference. However, they are a 1.5 games out of the sixth seed. On the other side of things, they are also just 1.5 games out of the 13th seed as well.
A lot can happen in the jumble of the Eastern Conference adding value to every remaining game. For the first time in awhile, making the playoffs for the Bulls doesn’t feel like a useless exercise in delaying rebuilding. This team is very young, they are meshing together better than they have in years, and could use some playoff experience as a stepping stone to that next level.
Otto Porter is out with this sporadic back issue, unclear if it’s planned rest or an actual recurring problem. Wendell Carter remains out.
Knicks injury report looks all clear. You can see recent lottery picks Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. all received DNP-CD last contest. Technically Smith is in the GLeague.
Game Time: 7:00 CDT; NBC Sports Chicago