Chicago Bulls vs. New Orleans Pelicans Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 2nd 2023

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The New Orleans Pelicans generally lean on Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram to lead them in scoring.

However, as they get healthier they have more offensive options.

The increased depth might be needed when New Orleans visits the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

Pelicans guard CJ McCollum returned from a 12-game absence caused by a collapsed lung and has averaged 19.5 games in the two games since his return. Trey Murphy III scored 18 points in his season debut on Friday as he returned from arthroscopic knee surgery.

The Pelicans won both games, and Williamson and Ingram were near the bottom of the list of seven double-figure scorers in a 121-106 victory against the visiting San Antonio Spurs on Friday.

“It’s a blessing to have the guys available that can come in and produce right away,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “Getting Trey back was huge for us.”

Murphy made four 3-pointers, Jonas Valanciunas had 24 points and 12 rebounds, McCollum added 19 points and Herbert Jones Jr. scored 17 vs. the Spurs. Ingram scored just 14 and Williamson finished with 12 after scoring 25 or more in each of his previous six games. Naji Marshall added 10 points to round out the Pelicans’ double-digit scorers.

“He’s been working his tail off,” Green said of Murphy. “He’s been doing everything he’s supposed to do, and more, and he’s been itching to get on the floor. He looked pretty solid tonight for his first game.”

Murphy, who shot 7 of 13 from the floor, came off the bench to play 22 minutes.

“It felt great,” Murphy said. “We got a win and that is what is most important and I was able to contribute.”

The Bulls will be looking for their first two-game winning streak of the season. They are coming off an improbable 120-113 overtime victory against the visiting Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night.

Chicago had lost five in a row and was playing without injured stars Zach LaVine (sore right foot) and DeMar DeRozan (sprained left ankle). And they were facing a team that had won eight of its past nine games.

“Any time you lose two great players like Zach and DeMar, it’s going to hurt any team,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “But I give our guys credit for rising up and finding a way to win the game.”

Alex Caruso made a 3-pointer as time expired in the fourth quarter to tie the game, and Chicago went on to win for just the second time in 10 games.

“It is only one win,” said Vucevic, who scored a season-high 29 points. “But it’s big for us at this point the way the season’s been going, the way we haven’t played really good basketball. I’m very proud of the way we competed and fought.

“A lot of guys stepped up big time who don’t play a lot of minutes in general and had to take on bigger roles and did a great job. We just came together.”

Eight Chicago players produced at least 10 points.

“I love the fact that we had so many guys in double figures,” Donovan said. “A lot of guys stepped up and made a lot of big shots.”

–Field Level Media

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