Game #50 Preview: Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers

The Bulls head to Los Angeles looking to finish their road-trip with a win against one of the poorest Lakers’ teams of the past ten years.

Chicago enjoyed a 16-point second-quarter lead in Golden State in their previous game before allowing the Warriors to record a comeback victory on the back of some hot three-point shooting.

The Lakers, on the other hand, have been in a slump all season, hitting a new low when the team had just four eligible players for the final four minutes of a recent game in Cleveland.

With just eight players dressed coming into the game, the Lakers lost two more over the course of the game to injury before Chris Kaman fouled out, leaving the Lakers with no bench. Robert Sacre then picked up his sixth foul but due to NBA rules, had to play on with every subsequent personal foul counting as a technical foul too.

So this Sunday’s marquee match-up doesn’t shape up to be an all-time classic with both teams missing their best players thanks to injury while the rest of the squad also battles minor knocks and sprains.

Carlos Boozer is listed as day-to-day with a calf strain suffered while, according to Thibodeau, “jumping around” in the locker-room before the loss to the Warriors. Reminder: Boozer missed the first month of the 2010-11 season after “tripping over a bag” in his home and breaking his hand.

For the Lakers, the injury list is lengthy. Kobe Bryant is still out recovering from a fractured lateral tibia, Pau Gasol has a groin strain, Nick Young has a fractured patella and Jodie Meeks and Xavier Henry are suffering from ankle and knee ailments respectively.

Tornike Shengelia is not with the Bulls after a death in the family, the only confirmed absence for Chicago.

Also similar between the two teams has been the surprising play of two point guards brought in as emergency relief in the face of injury woes. D.J. Augustin’s performance has been covered here before and the play of Kendall Marshall earned rave reviews across the NBA blogosphere.

Probable Starters

Chicago Bulls

PG: Kirk Hinrich, 11th season. 8.8 points per game, 4.0 assists per game.

SG: Jimmy Butler, 3rd season. 12.4 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game.

SF: Mike Dunleavy, 12th season. 11.0 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game.

PF: Taj Gibson, 5th season. 12.5 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game.

C: Joakim Noah, 7th season. 11.5 points per game, 11.3 rebounds per game.

Los Angeles Lakers

PG: Steve Nash, 18th season. 8.3 points per game, 5.4 assists per game.

SG: Steve Blake, 11th season. 9.6 points per game, 8.0 assists per game.

SF: Wesley Johnson, 3rd season. 8.8 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game.

PF: Ryan Kelly, 1st season. 7.6 points per game, 3.2 rebounds per game.

C: Robert Sacre, 2nd season. 4.5 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game.

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