The Bulls got massacred tonight to the tune of 112-84, which is even worse than it looks on paper considering there was a Boylen-y pace of play (lower than 93).
The Bulls offense started out all Boylen-y in the first quarter, with stuff like Kris Dunn post-up turnarounds being called ‘good looks’ but then were airballed. To be fair it was a better look than the outside shooting, where they couldn’t buy anything. Dunn had a bad first stint, but really everyone did. Even Zach LaVine, though having more than half the team’s buckets, was lagging back defensively. Overall in the quarter the team was a dreadful 7/21 from the field with 5 turnovers for 16 points and were down double-digits very quickly in this game.
The Bulls heated up a bit in the 2nd quarter, somewhat. Lauri Markkanen hit a couple threes which was nice, but then options like Harrison, Blakeney (came back from recent DNPs to jack a shot per minute) and Arrivederci were missing. Meanwhile the Magic offense, which had been working their size advantage and converting transition opportunities early, expanded to make a few bombs that got increasingly sloppy. So while the Bulls were looking a bit better, the deficit only grew to over 20. They finished ‘merely’ down 17 while giving up an offensive rating to the Magic of over 129. I’m guessing this is how Boylen keeps the team ‘looking competitive’ and dummy John Paxson actually buys it.
The team then responded to Jim Boylen’s halftime motivation where he, I’m speculating, completed a rousing speech by impaling a staffer’s shoes bellowing “loafers have no place here! I know these are sneakers it’s a metaffoooor!” by gving up an 11-0 run to start the second half.
I then did not watch said half! Bulls lost big, not even much done in garbage time. But it really doesn’t matter that they didn’t even look competitive, games like this happen as does close games against way better teams and you can twist yourself into seeing ‘spirit’ any which way if you’re not evaluating actual performance!
As for the performance, the ‘big’ ‘three’ of Lavine/Dunn/Markkanen put up the only good, but not great, lines on the team each scoring in double-figures with double-figure shot attempts. Justin Holiday’s shooting slump continued going 1-5 from three, and Wendell Carter went 0-5 from the field with only 13 minutes of action, as he was for some reason pulled even though Boylen had to know it’d be garbage time later in the game. At least Robin Lopez wasn’t posted up too much? He had one flailing reverse layup attempt miss and that was his entire shot attempts for his 16 minutes. As a team the Bulls only had 8 free throw attempts.
Meanwhile, the Magic had a great shooting night - best yet for a Bulls opponent this season. Nikola Vucevic had a game-high 22 with Aaron Gordon next with 18.