The Bulls are banged up, obviously, but it’s not too much to ask to figure they could take care of business with these next couple games in Orlando and Oklahoma City against the league’s worst teams. Unfortunately, the Bulls can only now hope for a split as they laid an egg tonight in a 114-95 loss that brought the Magic’s win total to 9 for the season.
DeMar Derozan had a season-high 41 points in this one, and it was pretty much the only real bright spot for the Bulls.
His other All-Star teammate, Nikola Vucevic, was brutal in a return trip against his former team. Vuc fouled out with over three minutes to go, and until that point shot 4-19 from the field for 13 points and had 5 turnovers, two of them on back-to-back offensive fouls in the fourth quarter. He was roundly outplayed by the guy included in the trade for him, Wendell Carter, but the lesser-talented Wagner brother too.
Yeah I mean I just can't believe this is real life pic.twitter.com/Rw53JzPy0N— Will Gottlieb (@wontgottlieb) January 24, 2022
The Bulls needed a big game from Vuc considering how many key players are out. Coby White was perhaps the only other Bull besides DeRozan with a solid game with 22 points, but he was 1-7 from three himself with zero assists, and the team as a whole shot less than 24% from three and had 10 assists total. There is nobody left on the bench, really, but still notable that they were outscored 51-10 in bench points as Mo Wagner had 23 alone in 25 minutes.
The Bulls turnover rate was 19.6%, and their defense was abysmal on the perimeter, just underscoring how critical it is when your three best guards are out hurt. The starting backcourt of White and Ayo Dosunmu had zero assists combined.
The Bulls just looked really vulnerable tonight. The Magic are trash yet were totally comfortable for much of this game, surging ahead in the 2nd quarter and there was only a brief point in the 2nd half where the Bulls snapped off a run bringing the deficit to 7 before Orlando went on a 6-0 run and kept the lead around double-digits for much of the final period. They, and again this is the Magic we’re talking about, were trash talking and throwing down fan-popping dunks and though the announcers were terrified they would blow it, the Bulls made sure they had nothing to worry about.
The Bulls have another game in 24 hours. At least it’s against the should-be-contracted Oklahoma City Thunder, and there’s a possibility Zach LaVine and Javonte Green can return in that one. I would’ve said that the Bulls shouldn’t rush them, but they really need better players on the floor than what was shown tonight.