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.

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