Things can only go up from here, right?
The Bulls are off to a very disappointing 2-5 start, which comes despite having one of the league's easiest schedules to start the season. There are plenty of issues on both sides of the ball for Chicago but a small share of positives as well, such as the shot distribution on offense or Wendell Carter Jr.'s recent play.
Tuesday's game against the Lakers at the United Center will represent the first time this season that the Bulls faceoff against one of the elite teams of the Western Conference.
Here are the essentials for tonight’s game:
When: 7 p.m. CST with Bulls Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
Where: United Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Chicago
Live stream: NBCSportsChicago.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
And here are three storylines to watch:
Anthony Davis looking to get off to a hot start at home
Coming into Tuesday's matchup with the Bulls, Davis, a Chicago native, is leading the league in first-quarter points per game, averaging an impressive 11.5 points per first quarter.
The Lakers, who will be looking to close out their three-game road trip with a win at the UC, will look to ride AD's offensive efficiency to a win against a Bulls team that is struggling mightily with rebounding and defending in the paint.
The Bulls are 25th in the league in opponents points in the paint, while the Lakers are one of the better paint scoring teams in the league, posting 52.7 points per game (fourth in the league). New Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has the squad second in the league in post-ups per game (16.7) and is a big part of the reason Davis is currently averaging a career-high 28.5 points per game.
This is a terrible matchup for the Bulls on paper, so this would be a great game for the team to step up and show some of that mental and physical toughness that Jim Boylen has been asking for.
LeBron James vs. the Bulls' wing depth (or lack thereof)
The Bulls' lack of wing depth is going to be a problem, even once Chandler Hutchison returns to the court. And one way or the other, guarding LeBron James is obviously going to be a colossal task for Chicago. James' scoring and rebounding numbers have taken a dip but he is having a career year in terms of playmaking.
James has already racked up 67 assists over 6 games (11.2 assists per game) and is coming off of a 21-point, 11-rebound, 13-assist triple-double in Sunday's win over the Spurs. The Bulls are going to be in even more trouble against James if they are without the services of Otto Porter Jr., who is listed as probable for Tuesday's game.
Otto Porter didn’t practice with that mildly sprained left ankle. Jim Boylen called him probable vs. Lakers.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) November 4, 2019
Chicago's three-guard lineups that feature Ryan Arcidiacono, Coby White, and Kris Dunn have actually held up with Wendell Carter and Thaddeus Young on the floor, but these lineups will be hard-pressed to perform well when L.A. has James, Davis, and Dwight Howard on the floor.
If the Lakers decide to go with jumbo lineups with James playing the one or the two, the Bulls will be at such a disadvantage on the boards that they will need to hit their perimeter shots to stay close in this one.
Wendell Carter Jr.'s productive stretch
Wendell Carter Jr. is one of the few Bulls having an all-around solid season, as evidenced by being the only Bull with a positive net rating through seven games. Carter, who had seven double-doubles last season, has four double-doubles over his first seven games of the 2019-20 season.
Carter, who is shooting a career-best 71.7% on field goal attempts less than five feet from the basket, finally appears to be settling nicely into the Bulls new-look offense. It is early, but Carter's recent stretch of player indicates a player who knows where to find their shots within the offensive system.
After shooting a woeful 6-14 against the Raptors on October 26, Carter has shot a remarkable 75% over his last four games.
The Bulls will need a big-time effort against the Lakers' frontcourt to win Tuesday's game, and Carter would appear to be the best option to guard Davis but he will likely spend some time as a help defender on Davis as well, both roles equally important to the integrity of the Bulls' defense.
But while Carter's defense—as it is every night—will be vital to the Bulls picking up a win, his offense will be just as important in a game that will likely be a defensive battle.
Both the Lakers and the Bulls have top-12 defensive ratings over the past two games, will it be an unlikely hero on offense on Tuesday night, or will one of the usual suspects help get the job done?
Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.