Josh Hart defends Zach LaVine in a home game last season

Top 10 Pelicans Home Games of 2021-22: No. 7 vs. Bulls

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

CHICAGO BULLS AT NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
Thursday, March 24 (7 p.m.)

Why it’s on the list
The Bulls are shaping up to be one of the NBA’s most intriguing teams, the subject of much offseason debate between hoops analysts: How much did Chicago improve? Are the Bulls a lock to make the Eastern Conference playoffs in 2022? A likely play-in team? Among ’22 postseason hopefuls, no NBA franchise has undergone as dramatic of an overhaul since the March trade deadline as Chicago, which launched its major makeover by trading for center Nikola Vucevic from Orlando. Early in free agency this summer, the Bulls quickly made a series of transactions to supply more weapons around the core of Vucevic, prolific shooting guard Zach LaVine and promising second-year forward Patrick Williams.

Where it falls on the New Orleans schedule
The final month-plus of the Pelicans’ slate is filled almost entirely with multi-game homestands and road trips, with the Chicago game launching a three-game spell in the Smoothie King Center that continues with weekend matchups vs. San Antonio and the Lakers. After the home tilt against the Bulls, New Orleans closes its regular season by facing eight opponents (out of nine games) that reached either the Western Conference playoffs or play-in round in 2021 (Sacramento is the only exception within that timeframe).

What’s new in Chicago
After years of excellence in Toronto and San Antonio, wing scorer DeMar DeRozan was the biggest-name addition for the Bulls during an active offseason. Former Lakers teammates Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso were acquired to bring backcourt depth, with Ball coming from New Orleans partly in exchange for veterans Tomas Satoransky and Garrett Temple. Also exiting the Windy City was versatile forward Thaddeus Young, who joined the Spurs.

#PelicansHomeGamesBracket results
Seeded 16th among 16 teams in the bracket based on 2020-21 regular season record, Chicago pulled off an “upset” by eliminating top-seeded Utah in dominant fashion, picking up 72 percent of votes. The Bulls predictably couldn’t get any further than that though, after getting matched up with the ninth-seeded Lakers in the quarterfinals. However, Los Angeles’ victory over Chicago was by a relatively close margin (58.5 percent-41.5 percent).

Other 2021-22 games between these teams
Friday, Oct. 22, New Orleans at Chicago

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