Pelicans-Bulls Preview

The Chicago Bulls have become accustomed to playing without

Derrick Rose.

The New Orleans Pelicans are about to learn what it’s like being

without their best player.

New Orleans travels to Chicago on Monday night for its first

game since losing Anthony Davis.

Davis, the leading scorer and rebounder for the Pelicans (8-8),

suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left hand in the first

half of Sunday’s 103-99 win over New York. It’s unclear how long

the injury will keep the Chicago native sidelined.

“I was going up for a lob, got fouled and then hit my hand on

the rim,” said Davis, who came in averaging 19.6 points, 10.6

rebounds and a league-leading 3.9 blocked shots. “I haven’t found

anything out yet. Most definitely I hope it’s a short-term thing. I

didn’t think it would keep me out, but it did.”

With Davis out, Ryan Anderson’s play becomes even more crucial.

Anderson scored a season-high 31 against New York, knocking down

seven 3-pointers on 11 attempts. Despite coming off the bench, he’s

averaging 20.7 points and shooting a career-high 53.8 percent from

3-point range – one of the best marks in the NBA.

“When Ryan comes into the game, he doesn’t think like a bench

guy,” coach Monty Williams said. “He thinks like ‘I’m playing 35

minutes and I’ve got to do my job.’ Obviously we don’t expect him

to score 31 points, but I will take it.”

The Pelicans are 4-1 when he scores at least 18.

Anderson has struggled mightily over his last five matchups

against Chicago, however, averaging 9.6 points on 28.6 percent

shooting – including just a 20.6 percent clip from 3-point

range.

The Bulls (7-8), who have won nine of the last 10 meetings, will

likely be happy to return to the United Center after a 1-5 road

trip. They’re 5-0 in Chicago, joining Oklahoma City and Indiana as

the only remaining unbeatens at home.

“Just because we’re coming home doesn’t mean anything,” forward

Taj Gibson said. “Teams tend to get a chip on their shoulder when

they come into Chicago, so we have to be ready.”

They suffered a 97-93 setback in Cleveland on Saturday, not able

to complete a comeback try that saw them take a one-point lead with

3:59 left after trailing by 12 earlier in the fourth quarter.

Though Chicago is just 1-3 since losing Rose again – this time

to a torn meniscus suffered Nov. 22 in Portland – Luol Deng

continues to elevate his play, scoring 27 against the Cavaliers.

He’s averaging 25.0 points while shooting 54.5 percent in the last

four games after averaging 15.7 points on 40.8 percent shooting in

his first 11.

Jrue Holiday is averaging 25.3 points over his last four games

versus Chicago, while Tyreke Evans is averaging 24.7 over his last

three.

Chicago’s Jimmy Butler didn’t play during the road trip due to

turf toe, and it’s unclear when he will return. He was averaging

12.3 points in the four games immediately preceding his injury.