Donovan thinks playing two-game series can help Bulls

This is rematch week for the Bulls. They got two home games against the Knicks, then will play a true back-to-back in Orlando with games Friday and Saturday.

This is a new feature of the NBA schedule, with the idea of cutting down on some travel and hopefully reducing the number of canceled games. Orlando is the Bulls' final two-game set in the first half. The NBA is planning on a two-week break in early March, then will release the second-half schedule.

"I mean it's unique," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. "It almost gives me a little bit of an impression of kind of like the playoffs, which is maybe not a bad thing for our team, since they hadn't really experienced some of that.

"We've got a young group that, you know, OK, we played (Monday) night and we're going to see the same team again, and here are some things we've got to clean up, here are some things we need to be better at, here are some adjustments maybe we can expect from them. And now, it's hard. It's hard to beat a team twice in a row."

The Bulls swept their first two-game series at Washington Dec. 29 and 31, for their first two victories of the season. That's also where Chandler Hutchison tested positive for COVID-19, knocking out him, Lauri Markkanen, Tomas Satoransky and Ryan Arcidiacono for a couple weeks. So two-game sets don't necessarily make things any safer for NBA players.

Asked if he'd like to see the two-game series remain a part of NBA life, Donovan was uncertain.

"I'd probably have to give that some thought," he said. "But it does help on the travel, so that's one thing that's positive. It does give young teams an experience to feel what it's like to play a team two times, very similar to when the playoffs start.

"You play a team obviously best out of seven (in the playoffs), but at least playing a team for a second time is good too. So I think there's some things that can be good with it. But I think it's different for everybody, I'd probably need to experience it a little bit more."

Heading into Wednesday's action, teams that lost the first leg of a two-game series in the same city were 15-22 in the second contest. In other words, there had been 22 sweeps and 15 splits in NBA same-city, two-game series.

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