NBC Sports Chicago; 7:00 p.m.
Second game of Wendell Carter Jr.’s extended absence. Tonight it’s Daniel Gafford who will be starting at center.
For the Pacers, pretty big injury decisions to be made still: both Malcolm Brogdon and Damontas Sabonis are questionable.
The Last Time:
No Victor Oladipo. No Domantas Sabonis. No Myles Turner.
Perfect opportunity for the Bulls to steal away a game they would have probably lost with both team at full strength, right?
Nah. The Bulls fold 108-95 to a Pacers team led by Malcolm Brogdon and T. J. Warren (before he became best friends with our old friend Jimmy Butler). Jakarr Sampson started.
At the time, it was the worst loss of the season. Of course, since then the Bulls have outdone themselves in terms of bad losses. But what else do you expect from this team at this point.
Fresh off an embarrassing 123-108 loss against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night, the Chicago Bulls players came out firing in the postgame media scrums.
First, it was Zach LaVine doing some questioning.
Zach LaVine: "We got outplayed. They locked into what we were doing. They went into their halftime and adjusted their offense a little bit and picked us apart. Same storyline."— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 9, 2020
But he’s done this before. So it’s noteworthy, but not groundbreaking. But after the loss against the Pelicans, LaVine wasn’t the only one doing the questioning.
Dunn: "Teams are making adjustments. And we gotta be able to adjust with them. Credit New Orleans. They made adjustments to our defense. At the same time, it’s our fault. The players on the court have to be able to see what they’re doing. We just couldn’t get a grasp of it."— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 9, 2020
Dunn: "It’s starting to get repetitive. Keep saying it, saying it, saying it. It’s going to get to a time where are we going to do something about it? We still have a chance to be in the race for the playoffs. It’s gotta mean something to this locker room."— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 9, 2020
Kris Dunn jumping on the bandwagon, frustrated the Bulls blitzing defense surrendered 44 points in the third quarter to the lowly New Orleans Pelicans as the Bulls dropped their fifth contest in a row. They are now 13-25, on pace to win 28 games.
LaVine’s and Dunn’s frustration was not directed to anyone by name. But connecting the dots on where the frustration seems to lie isn’t too difficult.
In other news, if Gar Forman and John Paxson stay around for another season there are already injuries they can use to justify why the season wasn’t successful for their talking points next media day.
For the guys on the floor though, the road doesn’t get any easier after another valley that was the Pelicans loss in a season full of them. The Pacers have Sabonis and Turner back. However to be fair, and maybe this gives the Bulls a chance, the Pacers aren’t playing particularly well right now, losing six of their last nine games including a loss to the Pelicans and Atlanta Hawks in that stretch.
The biggest storyline around the Pacers right now is the T.J. Warren and Jimmy Butler drama. There’s zero chance the Bulls game against the Pacers tonight is as interesting as what transpired two nights ago when the Pacers played the Miami Heat. Maybe, Ryan Arcidiacono will pick a fight with Doug McDermott. That’s the only thing that I can think of that would top the Warren/Butler saga.
Anyway, the Bulls can’t beat anybody right now, and already lost to this Pacers team with Sabonis and Turner. With both those guys back the Pacers have to be the betting favorite in the game tonight.
During this five-game losing streak, the Bulls are fielding the third-worst defense in the NBA by defensive rating. One spot worse than them in that same stretch is the Indiana Pacers. With Wendell Carter Jr. sidelined for 4-6 weeks the Bulls defense is probably only going to get worse before it gets better.