Nikola Vucevic searches for an open teammate during an April 4 game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Saturday night’s win against Cleveland sparked the Chicago Bulls’ five-game defeat, and they will be looking for the same result on Monday against the Celtics.
Those hopes may depend entirely on Nikola Vucevic, the only available of the team’s two All-Stars.
In the two games since Zach LaVine was expelled from the league’s health and safety protocol, the 30-year-old has scored 24 and 25 points, respectively . Chicago tied the two matchups 1-1.
The Bulls will need Vucevic to carry an even bigger workload in Monday’s game against Boston.
One of the few things the Chicago Bulls do for the matchup expected on Monday, Nikola Vucevic’s consistent high level performance against Boston.
In his last five games against the Celtics, Vucevic averaged 18.4 points and 10.4 rebounds. The only catch is that he and his former team, the Orlando Magic, lost all five of those matchups.
It is possible that Vucevic will not be able to do so without additional help, as in the form of his co-star LaVine is putting up the numbers it takes to outperform this Celtics team.
Especially considering the 180 made in their injury report for Monday. What was once a list interspersed with “questionable” became “likely,” and Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were both supposed to play.
And it’s getting more and more likely that he’ll have a hard time getting help. In Chicago’s only matchup against Boston this season, only the current bulls LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Thaddeus Young scored double-digit points.
But neither are these the old Celtics that Vucevic played in the past. This year’s Boston team was “right in the middle” of almost every statistic and completely underchallenged.
Only because of their current winning streak in six games have they retained their relevance in the playoff race of the Eastern Conference, which the bulls are observing from outside.
And your top rim protector, Daniel Theis, is now wearing the same uniform as Vucevic.
This is good for tenth place in the Eastern Conference as a number of teams (Toronto, Washington) are close to final box office.
Five Thirty Eight likely takes into account and has the undefined absence of Zach LaVine Playoff chances of the Bulls at three percent.
The forecast of the website strongly suggests that Toronto completes the postseason with a chance of 19 percent. Washington only has a six percent chance of winning.
The odds are against the Chicago Bulls, who have been without their top player for a long time, even after losing their five games.