Tonight, your Chicago Bulls hope to ride the momentum of their very satisfying 108-99 victory over the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday to a second straight win on the second night of their second back-to-back in a week (clearly, NBA schedulers were drunk when they started mapping out the Bulls’ 2022-23 season), over Michael Jeffrey Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets at the United Center.
The 4-4 Bulls have had an up-and-down season thus far, looking deeper than one could have reasonably expected thanks to the robust play of new veteran additions Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond, and needing all of that depth in dealing with a rash of early injuries. Despite suffering through several injuries of their own already this year, the Hornets boast a chippy 3-4 record, including victories over solid clubs like the Atlanta Hawks and the Golden State Warriors.
Patrick Williams had probably his best game of the season at Barclays, scoring 12 points while shooting 5-of-10 from the floor, pulling down seven rebounds, stuffing two blocks, and chipping in an assist and a steal for good measure. He was looking for his shot when the ball came to him, nailing both midrange takes and assertive drives to the rack. Here’s hoping that continues against a Charlotte frontcourt that has often given the Bulls trouble — specifically, frequent Bulls slayer P.J. Washington seems to always get our goat.
Zach LaVine proved to be the standout star for Chicago last night against Brooklyn, refusing to let the team lose down the stretch to Kevin Durant and co. Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the two-time All-Star will sit tonight after suiting up yesterday. That most likely means that Billy Donovan will add defensive stalwart Alex Caruso back into the team’s starting backcourt alongside Ayo Dosunmu.
The Hornets, at a mere 3-4 record, still performed above expectations given that LaMelo Ball hasn’t suited up yet this season. With Terry Rozier also perhaps out tonight, that makes the club’s most dangerous healthy scorer Gordon Hayward, currently averaging 18.9 points on .495/.360/.806 shooting splits, 4.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 0.7 steals. A fun Charlotte wrinkle: well-traveled point guard Dennis Smith Jr., a former lottery pick in the Lauri Markkanen draft, is starting in the stead of the sidelined LaMelo and finally playing well under new (and old) Hornets head coach Steve Clifford.
Assuming Zach is indeed rested, the scoring burden falls largely on the very capable shoulders of Chicago’s other All-Star, DeMar DeRozan. Deebo has struggled against trap-heavy defenses in recent games. Here’s hoping he can buck that trend against a Hornets club that, despite its decent start, is probably destined to join the Tank-O-Rama For Wembanyama eventually.
Bulls center Nikola Vucevic has been pretty inconsistent as a scorer lately, notching a double-digit tally once across his last three games. Here’s hoping that against, uh, Mason Plumlee he’ll go nuts.
Zach LaVine, Coby White and Andre Drummond are officially considered questionable to suit up tonight for Chicago. Obviously Lonzo Ball is out.
Terry Rozier and Cody Martin have been listed as doubtful for this game.
7 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago and 670 AM The Score.