The Chicago Bulls are on the cusp of playoff elimination at the hands of the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately, Chicago's efforts to stave off elimination tonight will be a lot harder.
This morning the Bulls announced that two starters have been ruled out for Game 5. Point guard Alex Caruso is out due to concussion protocols while forward Zach LaVine is now in healthy & safety protocols.
Lavine has averaged 19.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists through the first four games of this series. It's the first time in his eight-year career that he's playing in the playoffs.
Caruso has averaged 6.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. He's in his third playoff run after spending the last two with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Chicago Bulls lost Game 1 of their series against the Bucks but drew even in Game 2 thanks to a 41-point explosion from DeMar DeRozan. Alex Caruso had 10 crucial assists in that win.
But back-to-back losses in Games 3 and 4 now have the Bulls on the brink. With Caruso and Zach Lavine out, the Bulls will need a small miracle to avoid losing Game 5, let alone even up the series in Game 6.
The Bulls have won just one series since 2014 - a First Round win over the Bucks in the 2015 NBA playoffs.
Unless they want to extend that run of futility, everyone needs to be on point tonight.