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Bulls vs. Nuggets roster and preview: an especially-dreaded back-to-back
plus, a bit on the Bulls losing another close-and-late versus the Nets
Friday night was another “competitive loss” for the Bulls, likely internally chalked up to dumb luck yet again that they couldn’t execute enough down the stretch.
Zach LaVine did a couple good things and then more then a couple bad things. Unsurprisingly, he has not progressed as a decisionmaker at age 28. He was abysmal on a couple defensive possessions, and the typical head-scratching attempts at playmaking offensively: turning down threes to take pull-up twos, forcing passes, or barreling into the lane without much of a plan. That’s why his clutch numbers are usually poor, it’s not just make-or-miss-league, but the quality of shots he’s taking.
It’s clear this team doesn’t have a head coach who can command what is best for the team late in games. Because if that were the case, DeRozan would be top option, then Coby White, and LaVine would provide spacing and be a great secondary attack. Instead you get from a LaVine-led team what the LaVine-led team has produced for the past 3+ seasons under Donovan. Donovan did make a notable strategic change in benching Patrick Williams, but that is so low-impact compared to getting the Mid 3 to play smarter.
Of course, there’s a deeper concern that the game was that tough throughout in the first place, when Brooklyn was a similarly-tiered East “parity” opponent (will I be compelled to quote AK’s ridiculous self-assessments all season…) who were missing two starters and the Bulls were at home.
Amazingly, Brooklyn had 5 free-throw attempts all game, 2 of which were on take fouls by the Bulls to get the ball back. But they had 45 three-point attempts to the Bulls 28. It was mostly due to the second half (out-attempted 24-11, where Bulls only hit 2 threes), and again though the Bulls clearly are not buying into any ‘new offense’ early and often, they definitely don’t in 4th quarters.
Altogether that was a competitive loss but a bad one given the matchup. If the Bulls want to make even merely the play-in, they have to win those games.
Because there are a lot of games where they’ll be horribly overmatched, like tonight!
To the Nuggets roster!
Beyond comedic to hear preseason this assessment of AK from Kendall Gill, both giving AK undue credit for this Nuggets championship roster plus the delusional charitable comparison of that roster to the Bulls.
There’s not much to preview here as the Bulls are going to get worked, unless if we see that the Nuggets - who are on a back-to-back themselves - rest guys or coast a bit. They did in their hosting-the-Bulls matchup near the end of last season, one of the more improbable Bulls victories that duped management into thinking this team was on the right track.
Injury report: For the Bulls, Ayo Dosunmu remains out with his respiratory illness.
Later in the afternoon the Bulls added to Zach LaVine in the “banged up” category. Caruso and Williams are probable with DeMar DeRozan Questionable due to “rest”. He did take a big spill on Friday night but stayed in that game.
The Nuggets don’t look to be resting anybody, though they listed Jokic, Murray, and Braun as ‘Probable’
Schedule factor: it’s a back-to-back for both teams, but Denver remained at home.
Betting line: Bulls +310 to win. Implied final score: DEN 112.5, CHI 104
Game Time: 8pm central, national-ish broadcast on NBA TV
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