How the final outcome could impact the top of the East standings
The Chicago Bulls have comfortably held the best record in the Eastern Conference for much of the season. But, after dropping three of their last four, they are in jeopardy of tumbling down the standings. The two-seed Miami Heat are playing tonight and are just one game back of the Bulls. If Miami wins and Chicago loses, the Heat will take first place as they own the tiebreaker.
Poor injury luck has plagued Chicago lately. Derrick Jones Jr. suffered a bone bruise a few days ago and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Alex Caruso hasn’t taken the floor since December — he sprained his ankle and subsequently tested positive for COVID. Moreover, as CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith pointed out on Twitter today, only ten Bulls are available tonight. These health issues, coupled with the fact that three other teams are within two games of Chicago, means the race for the foremost spot in the conference could heat up over the next few weeks.
Lonzo Ball has been downgraded to OUT for tonight's game at Boston.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) January 15, 2022
Bulls will be without:
Derrick Jones Jr.
Just 10 players available for Chicago.
Bounce-back performance from Schroder
As was the case with most of the Celtics, Schroder didn’t play his best basketball in Friday’s loss against the Sixers. He dropped just one point and finished with as many turnovers as assists. But the German has rediscovered his scoring mojo tonight.
Schroder has converted three of his five field goals and enters the break with a plus-minus of +12, tied for the best on the team with Jayson Tatum. Perhaps most encouraging of all, Schroder went turnover-less in the first half and kept the head-scratching plays to a minimum. Well, at least on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, he got beat backdoor a few times and had moments where his transition defense was poor. But these blunders come with the territory of playing Schroder.