Life in the clogged-toilet conference is easy: just win a single game, and things are looking way better. Thus is the case with the Bulls taking out the Toronto understudy group, not only getting a comfortable win but looking so egalitarian in doing so: 35 assists with 9 players in double-figures.
It looked like the veteran influence on the starting lineup paid off. For one night. Against a tailspinning health-and-safety-protocoled team. It’s enough to change that #narrative from ‘why aren’t we trading Thad Young if we’re barely making to the play-in with him?’ to “you can’t afford to trade Young” very quickly. That Toronto victory did knock them back to #11 and the Bulls up to #9, after all.
They get another very good chance to keep it going tonight, as one of the few West teams that are no good are coming into town. The OKC Thunder are like the Pelicans, Kings, Rockets, in that the Bulls have shown they can beat ‘em...though in the case of the Thunder, Chicago didn’t actually get the W. It was a horrible late-game meltdown and turnover-filled loss back when that was still pretty common.
But that was the old Bulls, the new Bulls are ironically older and share and cut and lead, man. At least that’s the plan.
The Thunder are, as Zach Lowe would say, frisky. But also not trying to hard to win. They made countless deals over the offseason to stockpile picks and take on veterans that sometimes don’t even play. They continued it with trading Hamidou Diallo (ripe old age of 22) to the Pistons last week. But they have won two of three heading out of the break and are 11th in defensive rating. Like I said, frisky. But so are the Bulls!
Garrett Temple is still out with an ankle sprain. I suppose his absence was why Billy Donovan ruined an otherwise good time by letting Ryan Arcidiacono flop around for 10 minutes in the last game, but I don’t have to like it.
Thunder injury report is way more muddled. I saw Al Horford was out last game due to rest and thought that’d mean he would play in this one...but nope he’s out again. The disrespect! Also out includes Darius Bazley, George Hill, and Josh Hall. Lu Dort is questionable, so you’d have to think that means out.
Game Time: 7pm (woo-hoo!, not 8) on NBC Sports Chicago