The Bulls have 8 games remaining. Going into tonight, they are three games out of the 10th and final play-in seed currently held by the Wizards of Washington. The Wiz have been as good as the Bulls have been bad lately, and are massive favorites tonight at home against the oft-injured Pacers.
The Bulls have shown no ability to rise over injury (they weren’t doing well even before injury) and get some farfetched win. They had their chances over the weekend and played 1 out of 4 good halves of basketball. Tonight’s opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers, are the current number one seed in the East, a half-game over Brooklyn after they beat the Spurs just last night. Their injury report is clean...will they rest their stars on this back-to-back given they’re facing the Bulls? Or will they want to secure that top spot?
Does it even matter?
It’s hard not to have a grim understanding of this roster given how they’ve performed since the trade deadline. Let’s say that somehow the Bulls were to win a playoff spot after the play-in and face the Sixers in the first round. It’s malpractice to say “well, both teams have two all-stars”, because how many mere playoff-rotation-caliber players to the Bulls have? That, like, wont like get overwhelmed immediately? There’s LaVine, Vucevic, Thad Young, Daniel Theis...uh...maybe Garrett Temple? That’s a very small number, especially when 60% of them are best at center.
And the immediate concern is that 2 of them are hurt. The only hope is that this game is treated at a far lower level than ‘playoff intensity’ by Philly, though it’s been pretty stark to see how Billy Donovan hasn’t been able to elevate the team for an opportunity like that.
After tonight there’s a couple days off and supposed ‘clarity’ on LaVine’s odd Covid situation. There may also be clarity in the Bulls actual chances of playing for a play-in, and how the team responds this now-pathetic situation.
No LaVine (listed as ‘doubtful’, but KC says “not playing”, ok...), no Brown, and Vucevic is questionable.
For the Sixers, nobody’s hurt but there could be some strategic rest here. Bulls are a get-right team, blech.
Game Time: 8pm. Wizards start 2 hours earlier.