I’m going to try to be cautiously optimistic here, even though I and many others have been the very opposite in the last week. So bear with me.
This past week of games has, to put it bluntly, been abysmal. Everything that’s transpired from last Tuesday through Friday has led me to believe this team is trending towards an impending implosion.
Tuesday night, Chicago surrendered a 21 point lead at home to former leader Tom Thibodeau and one of the league’s worst, the Minnesota Timberwolves. And if that wasn’t embarrassing enough: in back-to-back games against the Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago came out with little to no effort. It had the feeling of a team quitting on its coach as they were blown out in both games, getting booed of their home floor in the latter of the two.
Not to mention, the Bulls are currently in the midst of their third, yes third, three-game losing streak of the season already. Two of which have happened in the past 10 games. And the feel of the team at this point to say the least, isn’t encouraging:
Hoiberg admitted the body language of his team is bad, that the fun is missing. Said the team feels like a drag— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) December 18, 2016
Gone are the days of throwing the ol’ pigskin around at practice, or venturing off to movies and escape rooms in visiting cities. In a matter of two weeks, the Bulls have to some extent, come back down to Earth after their strong start, losing their magic touch as they’ve lost six of their last eight.
Here’s the thing though, there’s still some time to turn this thing around. After all, they’re still only 13-13, which is probably far better than any one of us would have expected prior to the season.
We’ve seen how well this team can play when things are clicking, winning in Portland, Utah, competing with the Clippers, striking wins at home against Cleveland and San Antonio. This was the team that went 4-2 on their six game road trip, who were a couple of minutes away from being 6-0. Believe it or not, there was a time when this was remotely “fun” to watch.
But as with every team in the NBA, the Bulls have found themselves in a rough patch. This is where teams are tested with adversity, and how they respond to said adversity can and/or will set the tone for the remainder of the season.
Which falls on the shoulders of Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade.
With those two at the helm, the way their team came out and performed in back-to-back games against Milwaukee last Thursday and Friday is inexcusable. Instances when the team comes out with no effort, or when Nikola Mirotic skips the team bus from Milwaukee, and then subsequently “forgets” walkthrough the next day, shouldn’t happen on their watch.
It’s been disappointing to see this team’s response to adversity. They’ve hit it head-on, and fallen back on their asses. But as much as it may seem like this is the end of the world, it isn’t. There’s still 3/4’s of the season left. However, if they want to get back up, and get back to that team they were at the beginning of this campaign, it’ll be up to the two alphas to do so.