Whoa boy, that regression came quick, didn’t?
Three days after beating the defending champions at home, the Bulls have dropped two straight; one to the worst team in the league, and also included our first Rajon Rondo confrontation.
Monday night the Bulls dropped a tight contest to the Portland Trailblazers, who shockingly enough, didn’t shoot as bad as the first time these two teams played. A game in which Rondo was suspended for the aforementioned confrontation.
So let’s get to some hot takes, or takeaways from the Bulls second consecutive loss.
The defense is falling quickly
It was less than a week ago when the Bulls had a top 10 defense. And that’s swiftly no longer the case. They came into Monday night’s contest 12th in defensive efficiency, and after letting Portland score 67 first half points, 112 overall, that’s surely to drop even more.
From the start defensive rotations were slow, guys were late closing out on shooters. At times, guys getting confused on who was supposed to be rotating where, who they should be rotating off of or staying glued to.
Portland’s offense is predicated on ball movement, but more importantly several screening actions. Throughout the night Portland set multiple screens, flare screens to be exact and time and time again guards failed to anticipate or fight through them.
Stuff you go over in a game plan, ya know?
Bulls desperately need Michael Carter-Williams & Doug McDermott back
No, you read that bolded statement correct, that’s not a typo. If one thing has been clear over the past several weeks it’s that the Bulls depth on the perimeter is godawful. Since MCW and McDermott went out with injuries, reserves Isaiah Canaan, Jerian Grant, and Denzel Valentine have been given opportunities to step and contribute, yet none have been able to do so.
Monday night was no different. Challenged to come out and defend one of the league’s best backcourts, the trio showed that it was clearly not up to the task. Offensively it was just as worse for the three, as they combined to shoot 6-24 from the field, 1-12 from three, with eight turnovers to only two assists.
4th quarter offense comes to a halt
Chicago went 33-38 from the free throw line compared to Portland’s 13-18. They also out-rebounded the Blazers by 12, 50-38 (shoutout to Robin Lopez, dude was sensational per usual). How do you lose with those numbers? Well, you combine to make only five field goals in the fourth quarter. In addition, your two best players combine to shoot 2-10.
The Bulls fourth quarter offense, especially in crunch time situations has been atrocious this season. It’s something that plagued last year’s squad, and although the personnel has changed, continued into this season. Too many times the offense stagnates, resorting back to iso-ball. To put it bluntly, Monday’s night’s fourth quarter offensive display from the Bulls was downright disgusting.
To be a truly good team, you have to execute down the stretch, and thus far the Bulls have failed to do so on multiple occasions.