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Bulls vs. Celtics game preview and thread: it is now a bout with attrition

the injuries are not major, thankfully, but piling up

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Chicago Bulls David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls have really hit a wall in the past two games. Still the number one seed in the Eastern Conference (that’s why it’s good to rack up those winz even when not playing your best!), the Bulls are coming off two straight games where they were absolutely shellacked. First was from a nearly-full-strength Brooklyn Nets, but then an even worse lost after that to a hosted Warriors team without a couple All-Stars.

The Bulls are now down their own All-Star, as these games have not only been costly in terms of assessing the team against the league’s best, but it’s only more further tested this roster’s depth. After losing Derrick Jones to a non-contact knee injury a minute into the Nets game, a scarily similar thing happened to Zach LaVine versus the Warriors last night.

Thankfully, the update is promising, at least far better than the dreaded worst-case scenario: no significant structural damage, and a reassessment next week.

That said, LaVine is out for the next few games. And the schedule may let up a bit in opponent strength but there is precious little rest time as there is a game 24 hours after that debacle against the Warriors.

The Bulls have to travel to Boston, without LaVine, to face a Celtics team that also played last night. The C’s lost to the Sixers in Philadelphia Friday in a game where they fell behind early and would up losing by double-digits. That snapped a 3-game winning streak for the Celtics, but they are still painfully average with 21-22 record despite a better-than-record point differential putting them 12th in the league.

They definitely struggle more on the offensive end (22nd) so that should hopefully be good for a Bulls defensive unit that has taken a beating the past two games (knocking them all the way down to 18th in the league).

Injury Report

It’s not just LaVine (or Caruso or Jones or Green...), the Bulls are also going to be without Lonzo Ball tonight, who is listed as out tonight due to knee soreness.

For the Celtics, Marcus Smart is out in Covid protocols

Game Time: 7:30 CST, NBC Sports Chicago