Mending the Bulls: Assessing Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso’s Absence for Game 5

Bad news for the Chicago Bulls

In a crucial elimination game against the defending champions, the Chicago Bulls will be missing two of their starters. Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso will not be suiting up for the #6 seeded Bulls as they face a must-win situation against the #3 seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2022 NBA Eastern Conference playoffs. The Bulls find themselves down 3-1 in the series and their absence will be a significant blow to their chances of advancing.

Zach LaVine drives to the basket against Giannis Antetokounmpo

LaVine sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols

Zach LaVine, one of the top scorers for the Bulls, has entered the COVID-19 health and safety protocols and will be unavailable for Game 5. In the four postseason games so far, LaVine has been averaging 19.3 points per game, making him a crucial offensive force for the team. Additionally, he leads the Bulls in assists with an average of six per game.

Caruso in concussion protocol

Alex Caruso suffered a concussion in Game 4 when he was accidentally hit by an elbow during a pick-and-roll play involving Milwaukee’s Jevon Carter and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Caruso has been contributing 6.3 points and 4.3 assists per game in the postseason for the Bulls. His absence will be felt on both ends of the court.

Adjustments in the starting lineup

With two key starters sidelined, Bulls’ coach Billy Donovan will have to make adjustments to the starting lineup. It is likely that Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu will be tapped to step in for LaVine and Caruso. White, who started 17 games this season, has been an impactful scorer off the bench with an average of 12.7 points per game as the team’s Sixth Man. On the other hand, Dosunmu, a rookie who started 40 games this season, has been averaging 8.8 points per game but has limited playoff experience thus far.

Betting info and odds

Heading into Game 5, the Bulls opened as a 10-point underdog, but the line has since moved to -12.5 following the news of LaVine’s positive COVID-19 test. Both the Bulls and the Bucks have been even against the spread (ATS) in the playoffs with a 2-2 record.

The Bulls face an uphill battle as they are listed at +3000 odds to make a comeback and win the series after being down 3-1. On the other hand, the Bucks are heavily favored at -10000 odds to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The road ahead

If the Bulls manage to overcome the odds and win the series, they will face the #2 seeded Boston Celtics in the next round. The Celtics have already swept the #7 seeded Brooklyn Nets in their first-round matchup.

Bucks’ championship aspirations

As for the Bucks, they have their sights set on winning back-to-back titles. They are currently listed at +750 odds to win the 2022 NBA championship, showcasing their status as one of the top contenders in the league.

Conclusion

The absence of Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso will undoubtedly pose a major challenge for the Chicago Bulls as they fight for their playoff lives. However, they still have an opportunity to turn things around one game at a time. The resilience and determination of the team will be put to the test as they aim to stage a comeback against the reigning champions.

FAQs

1. How long will Zach LaVine be out due to COVID-19 protocols?

As per the health and safety protocols, the duration of LaVine’s absence will depend on the results of subsequent testing and his recovery process. It is uncertain when he will be cleared to rejoin the team.

2. Is Alex Caruso expected to return in the playoffs?

Caruso’s return timeline will depend on his progress through the concussion protocol and clearance from medical professionals. The team will monitor his condition closely and make decisions accordingly.

3. Who will the Bulls rely on for scoring in the absence of LaVine and Caruso?

The burden of scoring will likely fall on other key players such as DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vučević, and the younger guards like Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu. They will need to step up and contribute more offensively to fill the void left by LaVine and Caruso.

4. Can the Bulls overcome the 3-1 deficit to win the series?

While the odds may be against them, the NBA playoffs are known for surprises. If the Bulls can rally together, make strategic adjustments, and capitalize on their strengths, they have a chance to turn the series around and advance to the next round.

5. How has the Milwaukee Bucks’ defense limited the Bulls’ scoring?

The Bucks’ defense has been effective in stifling the Bulls’ offense by applying pressure, contesting shots, and minimizing open looks. Their strong defensive presence, coupled with their ability to guard the paint, has made scoring difficult for the Bulls throughout the series.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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