What to Watch For: Bulls-Pelicans


After snapping a three-game losing streak on national television Thursday night, the Chicago Bulls (12-8) move ahead to Saturday night and a meeting with Chicago native Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans (6-16).

For the Chicago Bulls this season, it’s been a tale of two teams.

There’s the team that found a way to defeat Cleveland, Oklahoma City and San Antonio at home.

Then, there’s the team that’s lost by 30 once this season and almost blew a 16-point lead at home to a Los Angeles Clippers team without Blake Griffin for most of the game.

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As for the New Orleans Pelicans, they’ve been plagued by injuries all season long, including their franchise’s centerpiece: Chicago’s own Anthony Davis.

Not only have the injuries stunted the growth of the Pelicans’ rise to relevancy in the Western Conference under new head coach Alvin Gentry, the Pelicans are 1-10 away from home this season and 0-6 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

Saturday night marks a SEGABABA for the Pelicans in Chicago.

With the Bulls looking to build a little momentum towards the holidays and the Pelicans trying to snap an ugly slide this season, here’s a few things to keep your eyes on during Saturday night’s showdown.

Derrick Rose got a haircut? Derrick Rose got a haircut.

No mask? No Jimmy Butler-like haircut? It might be 2010 again.

Derrick Rose played the second half of Thursday win without the mask against the Clippers. He scored nine of his 11 points in the game in the final quarter to help the Bulls survive a late comeback.

Could this mark a fresh start for Rose with the new look? Possibly. It’s doubtful, but as weird as the Bulls have been this season, Rose could be in a for a good night at the office.

Welcome home, AD

It’s been a difficult start for Anthony Davis this season. The nagging injuries have been there, and yet, he’s averaging 23.5 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest with a 25.2 player efficiency rating so far.

A new $145 million deal might not have been enough for “The Brow”.

Davis became the top high school prospect in the nation for the 2011 recruiting class at Perspectives Charter School in Chicago and would later win a title with the Kentucky Wildcats in his lone season in college.

He’s had some moments against his hometown team, including a tremendous 29-point, 11-rebound performance last December during his first game against fellow Chicago native Derrick Rose at United Center.

For the game itself tonight, Taj Gibson will get the first shot at guarding one of the league’s premier players.

Saturday could be a breakout game for the Bulls offensively

In terms of points per game given up, no team in the NBA gives up more than the New Orleans Pelicans do. On top of the 111.2 defensive rating the Pelicans currently have — the worst in the league — they’re a mediocre 17th in the NBA in team shooting percentage (44.3 percent).

The Bulls are one of the worst teams offensively through 20 games, but they’re due for a breakout of some kind. Do the pieces all fit for the Bulls right now? No. But, is there potential to show some kind of flow offensively with what they have? Yes.

Tonight could be a night for just that.

Next: Should Rose Try and Play Without the Mask?

Other notes:

  • Tip-off between Bulls and Pelicans is set for 7:00 PM CT on WGN-TV for the locals. Radio coverage can be found on ESPN 1000 Chicago.
  • Believe it or not, the Bulls are just two games back of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference heading into Saturday. They’re also just a game in front of ninth in the East (Detroit). Yeah, the East is nuts.