Here are Three Things to Watch when the Bulls take on the Phoenix Suns Sunday on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.
1. Something's got to give
What's the opposite of an unstoppable force vs. an immovable object? That's what we'll be looking at when the Bulls have the ball in their hands. Chicago ranks dead last in offensive efficiency, while the Suns have the 2nd worst defensive efficiency in the NBA. That means the Bulls, after scoring a season-high 123 points against the Hornets, can build on that momentum against a Suns defense that allowed 90 points in the FIRST HALF to the Rockets on Thursday.
2. Kris Dunn for real?
Fresh off the best game of his young career - he scored 22 points in a win over the Hornets on Friday - Kris Dunn continues to look like the best point guard on the Bulls roster. He's going through a really solid stretch right now, averaging 13.2 points on 47 percent shooting, 4.2 assists and 2.6 steals over his last four games. With Eric Bledsoe out of Phoenix, Dunn could be in line for another big game going up against Mike James and Tyler Ulis, regardless of whether or not he starts over Jerian Grant.
3. Watch out for Devin Booker
We'll try to get an opponent in here once for every tune-in, and Devin Booker certainly fits the bill. Much like Dunn is doing, Booker is on quite a roll these days. Over his last four games Booker is averaging 30.5 points on 51 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists. The Bulls will need to keep their eyes on Booker at all times, especially after allowing Kemba Walker to go off for 47 points on Friday.
Here are Three Things to Watch when the Bulls take on the Indiana Pacers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.
1. Getting a re-do: The Bulls' worst loss of the young season at the time came when the Thunder crushed them, 101-69, at the United Center. Now a largely rested Bulls team - one that hasn't played since Saturday - gets a chance to make amends. The last time the Bulls had three days off they played well in a 97-91 road loss to the Heat. With Nikola Mirotic back in practice the Bulls are getting closer to full-strength. Fred Hoiberg has had practice time to get his young squad ready; will it be enough against a West powerhouse?
2. Searching for offense: In last month's loss to the Thunder the Bulls shot a measley 28 percent and had 19 turnovers to just 16 assists. That game is part of the reason the Bulls have the league's worst offensive efficiency. Of course Zach LaVine eventually returning to the lineup will help things, but so could Bobby Portis' strong play since returning, Kris Dunn finding his groove and Lauri Markkanen continuing showing consistency. Better days are ahead for the Bulls offense, but it might not happen easily against a Thunder defense ranked 2nd in efficiency.
3. Russell Westbrook: If you're tuning in we know you love basketball, and if you love basketball you know that Russell Westbrook is a joy to watch every night. He's having a down year by his standards (he averaged a triple-double last year afterall), averaging 20.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 9.8 assists per game. But you know he's capable any night of doing something you've never seen done on a basketball court. Make sure you're tuning in.
Lauri Markkanen suffered a sprained ankle in the closing seconds of the first half Saturday night against the Spurs and did not return.
Markkanen attempted to block a Rudy Gay layup and appeared to slip on the floor of the AT&T Center. He was seen trying to walk off the sprained ankle and was subbed out for the final 1.3 seconds.
The Bulls announced Markkanen's injury during halftime. He finished with six points, two rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes. It was the first time in his career he failed to score in double figures or make a 3-pointer.
The Bulls' rookie forward has dealt with two injuries in his early NBA career, including quad tendinitis earlier this week and back spasms during the preseason.
In 10 career games Markkanen has averaged 15.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and shot 36 percent from beyond the arc.
The Bulls are off until Wednesday when they travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder.
UPDATE: After the game Markkanen said he's confident he'll be ready for that game Wednesday in OKC.