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Bulls vs. Hornets game preview and thread: GOTTA have this one

the trick-or-treat Bulls SHOULD win tonight... but will they?

Chicago Bulls v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Tonight, our Chicago Bulls will continue their mini-road trip against some of the worst teams in their conference when they face off against MJ’s ailing Charlotte Hornets, in a game that may not include either Ball brother.

After somehow blowing a 20-point second half lead to a Pacers team that hadn’t won in two weeks on Tuesday, it’s hard to know what to expect from this Bulls team. On paper, yes, they absolutely should beat Charlotte. But Zach LaVine’s three-point shooting has crumbled of late thanks to a finger injury that seems to be affecting his jumper.

Thanks to some less-than-surprising injuries to their major players, the Hornets quickly discovered they were part of the Tank-O-Rama For Wembanyama slate of rebuilding rosters punting the 2022-23 season, and are accordingly off to a brutal 13-36 start. Beyond just being a talent-poor on-court product even when healthy, Charlotte is anything but, and could be without two of its top three scorers (and three of its top six).

Chicago, the 10th seed in the East at 22-25, has an incredible schedule break right now that it needs to take full advantage of. The club will play five of its next six games against teams currently slated to miss the play-in tournament entirely — two of those games are against Charlotte! Given that this is the trick-or-treat Bulls we’re talking about, a team that's allergic to taking a high volume of threes and that only possesses one player who can be counted on late in games, suddenly I feel like we’d be lucky to see them go 3-3.

Will Arturas Karnisova and Marc Eversley actually look to do something, anything to improve this franchise in time for the February 9th trade deadline? The Bulls are desperate for three-point shooting, wing defense (Alex Caruso is great, but he can’t do it alone), and rim protection. There are players that could be available who would address all those concerns. Alternately, will AKME concede that this team isn’t going anywhere, and try to offload some of its players to replenish its draft pick supply and add some more young talent? Or will they sit on their hands like they did last year, worried more about the salary cap than meaningful change?

DeMar DeRozan deserves better than this.

Injury Report:

Goran Dragic is still away from the team with his non-COVID-19 illness, while Lonzo Ball and Javonte Green continue to rehab their surgically-enhanced knees.

LaMelo Ball (sore left ankle and right wrist) and Gordon Hayward (left hamstring strain) are both questionable to play tonight. Swingmen Cody Martin (sore left knee) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (left hand surgery) are out. Terry Rozier is probable.

Time: 6:30 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago.