Bulls

Preview: Bulls square off against Hornets on CSN

Preview: Bulls square off against Hornets on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Hornets on Monday night on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.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.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1. Needing a victory. This one really goes without saying, but with the Bulls stuck in their worst rut of the season they really need to get back to their winning ways. They’ve fallen four games below .500, and their next five opponents after this one are .500 or better. This might be the last game until March 24 against the Sixers that the Bulls are favored in.

2. Hornets making one last push. As big of a disappointment as the Bulls have been, the Hornets have been an even bigger one after making the playoffs last season. But with the bottom of the East entirely up for grabs, and the Hornets having won four of seven, there’s an outside chance they can make the playoffs with a (very) hot finish to the year. It’s unlikely, but beating a team in the Bulls ahead of them would go a long way. They certainly still have something to play for, just like the Bulls.

3. Kemba Walker could provide problems. Kemba Walker was named to his first All-Star Game in February, and while he went through a lull in early February he’s all the way back. In 10 games since that All-Star break, he’s averaged 27.1 points on 47 percent shooting and 5.4 assists. Given the Bulls’ massive point-guard woes of late, Walker may be increasing those averages.

4. Marvin Williams heating up. Walker isn’t the only Hornet playing his best basketball of late. In his last six games, Williams is averaging 15.3 points on a scorching 56 percent shooting. He’s giving Charlotte another perimeter shooter to go along with Walker and Nicolas Batum, and his 10.2 rebounds in that span haven’t hurt either.

5. Jimmy Butler must step up. Jimmy Butler has been fine lately, but in Sunday’s loss to the Celtics he was held to five points on 2-for-11 shooting. Everyone struggled in that game, but it’s the leader’s job to step up in those instances. If the Bulls suffer more struggles early on Monday, the Bulls will turn to Butler. He’ll need to do a better job.

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Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Luol Deng is honored in win over Pistons

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USA TODAY

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Luol Deng is honored in win over Pistons

On this edition of Bulls Outsiders, Matt Peck, John Sabine and David Watson react to the Bulls 109-89 win over the Pistons.

1:00 - Reaction to the win over Detroit

3:25 - Viewer comment on Bulls still having hope in the Eastern Conference

4:30 - Did Lauri Markkanen finally break out of his slump?

6:30 - Viewer comment on Zach LaVine and if he still fits

8:15 - Shaq Harrison balls out starting at SF

9:30 - Big Dave does Shaq highlites

11:50 - Viewer comment on James Harden or Luka Doncic?

13:30 - Viewer question on who has bigger hands- Will Perdue or Kendall Gill?

15:15 - Bulls honor Luol Deng and 2009 Bulls team

18:05 - Viewer comment on greater Bull- Joakim Noah or Deng?

21:00 - Viewer comment on Otto Porter Jr.’s return

23:30 - Reacting to Derrick Rose’s comments about load management

Listen to the episode here or in the embedded player below.

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Shaq Harrison does it all in Bulls' drubbing of the Pistons, and he's not done yet

Shaq Harrison does it all in Bulls' drubbing of the Pistons, and he's not done yet

Shaq Harrison has just played the game of his season. In a 109-89 dismantling of the Pistons, the Bulls’ ‘next-man-up’ of the night did it all, scoring 15 points, snagging 11 rebounds and swiping three steals on a rather efficient 7-of-12 shooting. He was announced as the Bulls’ fifth starter just two hours before tip-off.

In the locker room after the game, Harrison was — unsurprisingly — all smiles. But emblazoned across the front of his bottom lip: a smear of blood.

To Harrison, it’s a badge of honor.

“This was the first play of the game,” he said, ever-congenial. “Welcome back.”

That’s the rare brand of attitude Harrison brings to the Bulls, and it takes only a brief spin around the locker room to see how much he is appreciated.

"Shaq's a dirty-work guy, and that first group needs it," head coach Jim Boylen said of what Harrison brought to the starting lineup.

“His defense is great, he always constantly puts pressure on guy[s],” Tomas Satoransky said. “We needed that energy.”

Energy is one thing, and Harrison certainly possesses that in droves — he likened himself to a “rabbit” on the court, chasing down loose balls, rebounds and transition opportunities. But to go from a spark-plug to a true impact player, there’s a deeper level of preparedness required.

If he hadn’t already, Harrison proved tonight that he’s the latter — or, at least, that he can be.

“Shaq’s a real pro, stays ready,” Boylen said. “He’s been working… It’s a credit to him. He’s a winning dude.”

“When you got other players that are playing in front of you, you can easily cry about it and complain,” Harrison said. “But I kept my head on straight and stayed the course, and everything worked out for me in the end.”

Against Detroit, Harrison logged more minutes (26) than he had all season to this point (23), and led the Bulls in plus-minus (+29), to boot. 

“It’s easy to talk with him about how we want to play, and I feel like communicating with him is a very natural thing for me,” Satoransky said of getting Harrison up to speed. 

On Harrison's ability to plug and play, even without a guaranteed role: “It says a lot,” Satoransky said. “And I think he just confirmed what I was thinking about him from last year, because with [the] Wizards, we played against them… He always put a lot of trouble defensively on us.”

The typical highlight-reel plays were there, as well, but when asked his favorite play of the night, Harrison cited his lone three-pointer (he was 1-for-2 from deep on the night), which gave the Bulls a 17-6 lead in the first quarter.

“That was my favorite one of the day,” he said. “Cause I worked so hard on it in the offseason.”

And the thing he’s most proud of?

“Most of all, I take pride in the win. That’s the main goal, and that’s what we got tonight.”

With starting small forward Otto Porter Jr. and his understudy Chandler Hutchison both injured and without concrete timetables for return, Harrison will likely see more opportunities to contribute to that main goal, moving forward. Boylen said he sees no reason to switch the current starting unit up, especially with a back-to-back coming this weekend.

Harrison, for his part, remains focused on the things he can control. The rest will work itself out later.

“Toughness and a dog mentality,” he said, on what he brings. “I’m always gonna be able to play 100 percent every single night. Whether my shot falling or it’s not falling, you’re gonna get 100 percent out of me."

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