Despite two straight losses to two of the better teams in the NBA, the Chicago Bulls are still in good shape in the Eastern Conference playoff race here in February. The league’s trade deadline is approaching this week and we wont know until it’s over what type of move(s) the Bulls or going to make, if any at all.
But before that, the team is hoping to get back on track and Wednesday night provides a big opportunity to do so.
Chicago heads to Charlotte with a 33-21 record, 1.5 games behind the Miami Heat and a game behind Milwaukee Bucks in the playoff race. Meanwhile, Charlotte is 28-27 and hanging around the playoff race. With those records it’s no surprise that the Chicago Bulls odds for the game favor the visitors in this one.
However, the Bulls can’t take the Hornets lightly and really need to figure out a way to escape Charlotte with a win. But one thing to monitor moving forward as the All-Star break approaches is the minutes that DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine are racking up. DeRozan scored 45 points in 41 minutes in the loss to Philadelphia on Sunday and followed it up with 38 points in 36 minutes in the loss to Phoenix.
With LaVine missing time recently, the Bulls have had to depend on DeRozan more and the small forward doesn’t seem fazed by it. His head coach, Billy Donovan, has the tough task of managing that workload for his leading scorer as he told the media via Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:
‘‘I talk to DeMar a lot just to get a gauge of where he’s at physically,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘Obviously, at the end of the game, the accumulation of all those minutes being in the high 30s is something I’m concerned about.
‘‘But with what’s happened to our team and where we’re at, he’s a really competitive guy. And I think when you’re dealing with a guy that knows his body better than anybody, you’re going to communicate with him and have conversations with him.
DeRozan and LaVine are the two biggest keys for the Bulls moving forward and keeping them both healthy and well rested for a playoff run is the main goal.
But first things first, they need to take care of business on Wednesday night.
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