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Raptors 109, Bulls 98: sweet, sweet, mediocrity

I’m not really that disappointed over what happened in Wednesday night's game, which dropped the Bulls to the 7th seed and a 41-41 record. It’s not fair to be, as I was never that excited about the wins. They’re fundamentally the same team in Wednesday's game that they were when winning their previous 5, or 9 of 11. An average offense with good 3-point shooters and individual talent, with a below average defense. They somehow have a worse defense this season than last, a year where they basically quit. So it will never be a matter of an unexpected failure on that end. Or Vinny continually playing Brad Miller and Tim Thomas too much together. That's no different. What happened in the season finale was a team collectively shooting terribly and getting beat for the Raptors misses. And Tim Thomas played 18 minutes.

For their faults, what the Bulls could bank on these past several weeks was overwhelming teams with talent. But I somewhat apologize for dismissing this fanpost saying John Salmons could be in a slump and/or hurt. Well, three awful games is a trend, and it was not just inaccuracy (1-7), Salmons did just not look healthy tonight.  If he's not better by the weekend, it puts a miniscule chance of playoff success (however you want to define that) into the realm of impossibility.

The playoffs don't care how the Bulls got some close late home wins over teams worse than them to finish their season. They're going to have to play the Boston Celtics. That takes a disciplined offense and a committed defense. The Bulls didn't have that against the Raptors in a game they needed  (some horrendous shot selection Wednesday. And did you see yet another look at the famous Bulls zone D?). Not because they didn't feel the urgency to win, but because they haven't had it all season.

(Lots of playoff previewing to come. Lighter on the pessimism...maybe.)