Bulls vs. Lakers game preview and thread: play-in East meets play-in West

Mar 26, 2023 - 2:30 PM
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Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

This afternoon at Crypto.com Arena, our Chicago Bulls will face off against Patrick Beverley’s last team, the ascendant Los Angeles Lakers.

LA is currently in the midst of a three-game win streak, and looks like a wholly different team since president Rob Pelinka offloaded $65.4 million’s worth overpaid of veteran point guards in trades to add players around stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis who actually made sense. Yes, that salary sum includes our guy Pat Bev, who has been an absolute steal off the buyout market in starting for his hometown team, but was overpriced and out-of-position as LA’s $13 million starting shooting guard. All 6’1” of him.

In the weeks since the February 9th trade deadline, Los Angeles has gone 12-6 with its new-look lineup, featuring fresh additions D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Rui Hachimura and Mo Bamba. Bamba could be done for the season with a high left ankle sprain, while James and Russell are both working their way back from less long-term ailments, but appear unlikely to suit up today.

The 37-37 Lakers are banged-up, yes, but so are the Bulls, missing surgically-enhanced Lonzo Ball and Javonte Green, plus possibly injury-prone ex-Laker Alex Caruso.

At 35-38 and playing on the road, the Bulls are 4.5-point underdogs against Los Angeles. The very definition of a “mid” team, Chicago really could go either way tonight. Neither the Lakers nor the Bulls shoot a particularly high volume of threes, but Los Angeles is deeper and will have a healthy Anthony Davis available to brutalize Nikola Vucevic and ex-Laker Andre Drummond in the post all night.

Look for Chicago to be 35-39 later this evening.

Injury Report:

For the Bulls, Javonte Green returned from his knee surgery last week, after a two month-plus layoff, for a whopping two games before being shut down again. Will we ever see him suit up again in a Bulls uniform? Who knows?

Elsewhere, Alex Caruso is questionable with left mid foot soreness. He did play on Friday, albeit sparingly.

Among their rotation players, the Lakers will be missing LeBron James, probably D’Angelo Russell, and definitely Mo Bamba.

Game Time: 2:30 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago

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