The Chicago Bulls have become accustomed to playing without
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
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
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.