UPDATE 8:05 p.m. ET: Deng is out, reports K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
The Lakers have lost eight of 10, and their struggles this season have been well-documented. They may catch a break Monday night in Chicago, where the Bulls may be without their leading scorer.
Luol Deng is a game-time decision due to a hamstring injury that kept him out of Saturday’s overtime loss to the Grizzlies, reports Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.
“We’ll know tonight,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Still day to day, a little bit better today, we’ll see tonight.”
Deng averages 17.4 points per game on the season. If he’s unable to go, Jimmy Butler, who started Saturday and played 48 minutes while scoring 18 points in Deng’s absence, would be expected to get the start in his place.
Joakim Noah, who was benched for the fourth quarter and overtime in Saturday’s loss, is expected to be available and to start. Thibodeau said after the morning shootaround that he expects him to respond well despite his poor performance the previous game.
“He understands,” Thibodeau said. “The thing is he’s been around. The team has to come first, that’s the most important thing. Sometimes that happens in-game, not a big deal.”
“He’s responded well since I’ve been here so I always expect that,” Thibodeau said. “I expect the best out of him.”
Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.
Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.
Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.