Lakers at Bulls
Bryant and the Western Conference-leading Lakers visit the struggling Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, trying to rebound from their first loss in 12 games.
Bryant began this five-game road trip after suffering a broken index finger in a home win against Miami on Friday. The finger – and a stomach bug – appeared to significantly affect him in a 102-94 loss at Utah on Saturday. Bryant finished with a season-low 16 points on 7-of-24 shooting.
Chicago shot a season-low 32.6 percent in a 106-80 loss to Boston on Saturday. Derrick Rose finished with a team-high 19 points, but scored only eight in the second half when the Bulls were outscored 52-34 by the Eastern Conference leader
The Bulls last 5 games have yielded higher points against then usual which could be expected without Hinrich in the line-up. However, these numbers could have been expected regardless playing the likes of Golden State (overtime), Atlanta, Toronto and Boston.
Hinrich finally has a game back under his belt and will be back ay 100% tonight. The Lakers on the other hand will be playing with Kobe (broken Finger and coming off an illness, that reportedly may have been H1N1) and Luke Walton.
Tonight Phil Jackson will make sure that Kobe is healthy above all, if the game is 10+ in the fourth Kobe will sit (they need this guy for the whole season so Phil won’t chance it.) Kobe’s finger and energy level (from illness will certainly) slow the games tempo as well keeping the Lakers score lower, something the Bulls need desperately. The lower the score the bigger +10 becomes.
The Bulls have averaged over 90 FG attempts their last 3 games and at this pace will put up too many points not to cover against a Lakers team coming in knowing they won the first match-up, trying to conserve Kobe and having to play B2b. The Bulls will be flat out hungry in front of an always sold out crowd when LA comes to town.
It will be all Bulls energy and they will cover tonight against LA and perhaps make LA 3-3 SU on the road this year. I would like to think that against Lakers , most of the NBA teams are playing their A game focusing more and defending better.
So, today’s NBA free tip is :
Good luck !