Five Things to Watch: Bulls back in action against Bucks

Five Things to Watch: Bulls back in action against Bucks

Watch as the Bulls take on the Bucks tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6:30p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.


1. Rotations may change again. Thursday night saw Denzel Valentine (19 minutes) and Bobby Portis (23 minutes) enter the rotation, while Nikola Mirotic logged a DNP-CD. The results was an ugly, ugly loss. Will we see more rotation changes on Friday? Perhaps second-round pick Paul Zipser?

2. Slowing down Jabari/Giannis. The Bucks' two franchise players were electric on Thursday. Parker went for 28 points on 11-for-19 shooting and five rebounds, while Antetokounmpo finished with 30 points and 14 rebounds. In all they tallied 58 points on 46 shots, and made 5 of 9 triples. The Bulls need to find an answer quickly.

3. The back-to-back. The Bulls are 2-3 this year on the second half of back-to-backs, while the Bucks are 0-4 in such situations. Having a more veteran group knowing how to deal with back-to-backs will help. But right now the Bucks appear to be the more athletic and deeper team, which will work in their favor.

4. Build on that momentum. This one might be a stretch, but the Bulls were able to pull within eight of the Bucks in the fourth quarter. They won the final period, 31-20, which admittedly masked just how bad the performance was. But maybe that strong fourth quarter will give the team a boost out of the gates on Friday.

5. Tony Snell returns. OK, so the wing probably won't receive the kind of ovation Tom Thibodeau did on Tuesday. But it will be Snell's first trip back since being dealt for Michael Carter-Williams in the offseason. Snell had nine points and four rebounds in 31 minutes on Thursday.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

- Check out the latest stats and standings to make sure you’re ready for action

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

- NBC Sports App FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Bulls: All of the most recent news and notes

Taj Gibson signed with Knicks to be closer to father recovering from heart transplant


Taj Gibson signed with Knicks to be closer to father recovering from heart transplant

For as long as he's been in the league, Taj Gibson has been considered one of the ultimate good guys.

That reputation won't be diminished in the slightest considering his reasoning for signing with the New York Knicks this summer.

Many expected the Bulls to make a run at Gibson to back up Lauri Markkanen at power forward. But as it turns out, the Knicks were going to be difficult to beat as a landing spot.

Via Marc Berman of the New York Post, Gibson decided to return home - he grew up in Brooklyn - to be closer to his father who recently underwent a heart transplant.

Gibson said he spent a large portion of June - in the lead-up to free agency - in New York as his father awaited a new heart. Gibson agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the Knicks on the first day of free agency, just a few weeks after Wilbert Gibson had successful surgery in June.

The entire article is worth a read, but let us also add an anecdote Gibson shared about one of the first calls he received from a familiar voice.

Gibson knew lots of winning in seven seasons in Chicago — mostly with ex-Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau. A known taskmaster, Thibodeau brought Gibson to the T’Wolves and knew of Gibson’s dream to one day be a Knick.

“Once I signed with New York, one of the first phone calls I got was from Thibs,” Gibson said. “That’s all we ever talked about throughout my time with Thibs — we always talked about New York.

“For it to finally happen, being able to say I was finally a New York Knick was a crazy feeling. We laughed for a minute. Then he was serious. He was like, ‘If anyone is capable of playing in New York, you’re a New York-style player.’ He knows me that I will play hard every night.”

Report: Former Bulls center Joakim Noah will work out for Los Angeles Lakers


Report: Former Bulls center Joakim Noah will work out for Los Angeles Lakers

Buckle up, nostalgic Bulls fans of the 2010s. There's a chance Joakim Noah teams up with LeBron James.

That's according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who reported Tuesday that the Lakers plan to work out Noah - along with two other centers - as they search for replacements for the injured DeMarcus Cousins.

As much as it will pain Bulls fans to hear it, Noah makes the most sense of any players listed above. Howard has a bad back that limited him to nine games last season (and we all know about his first stint with the Lakers), Speights last played in the NBA with the Orlando Magic in 2018, and Gortat played sparingly (47 games, 16.0 minutes) for the Clippers last season.

Noah had a resurgence in Memphis last season, averaging 7.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists in just 16.5 minutes. He'd obviously be an excellent locker-room presence and high-energy defender for a Lakers team that will need it. We also know that the fire in him hasn't run out. Just ask Devin Booker.

James and Noah have a long history of in-game scuffles, and while they undoubtedly have respect for one another, it'd be weird seeing the two team up in the same uniform.

Then again, James and Derrick Rose played together in Cleveland two seasons ago, so how much weirder can it really get?