On the night of Jan. 15, the Chicago Bulls are set to take part in their first game action this week, after a long break since their last outing. In their last game, the Bulls fell short in a tough three-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and the superstar forward duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, on the road back on Jan. 10.
That loss to the Clippers saw the Bulls and first-year head coach Billy Donovan round out their four-game west coast road trip on a three-game losing streak. Their other two losses in that span came at the hands of the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers and the rising Sacramento Kings.
And on Jan. 15, the Bulls did hit the road once again to face a set of Western Conference foes. This time around, they start off the weekend by taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Coming into this game, the Bulls sported a record of 4-7. Meanwhile, the Thunder hold a record of 5-6. Once again, the Thunder look to be better than originally anticipated coming into the season.
The Bulls did take care of business twice in facing the Thunder on the road during the preseason slate. But this is a different ball game now.
Good news for Donovan and the Bulls arrived in the fact that fourth-year power forward Lauri Markkanen returns to the starting five on this night, after missing the last seven games. Markkanen had missed a good portion of the season so far dealing with the combination of a lower-body injury and a violation of the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
With Markkanen back in the mix, along with small forward Otto Porter Jr. recently, the Bulls didn’t need to have center Luke Kornet and rookie point guard Devon Dotson on this short road trip. Apparently Kornet and Dotson are reportedly serving as sort of an in-shape “practice squad” for the Bulls as they hit the road for their next couple of games.
Dotson has only played in one game himself so far this season. In his one game played, Dotson registered four points and one rebound on 2-of-4 shooting from the field in 10 minutes on the floor. He hasn’t got much of a chance to shine in the spotlight so far this season.
Kornet has seen a dramatic dip in his playing time so far this season due to the increased depth in the Bulls frontcourt rotation. He’s only played in one game so far this season, registering two points and one rebound in seven minutes on the floor.