With the Toronto Raptors’s win over the Houston Rockets, the Chicago Bulls are officially locked into the sixth seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs. So in essence it meant that their game against the Charlotte Hornets didn't exactly matter from their perspective. However, it doesn’t excuse what took place at the United Center. In their second to last game of the season, Chicago came out flat and the Hornets ran all over them. Charlotte came out of the gates blazing hot, scoring 39 points in the first quarter and were up 28 at halftime, bring out boos around the UC. The game wasn’t close at all as the Hornets got whatever shot they wanted as Chicago got blown out 133-117. In fact, the final score could have been worse if not for the Bulls outscoring Charlotte in garbage time. This is Chicago’s fourth loss in a row as their late season slide continues.
As a team, the Bulls had a decent offensive night as well. The problem was that they couldn’t a stop defensively. Chicago shot 53.7 percent from the field and had one of their better 3-point shooting nights as of late, hitting 54.2 percent of their attempts from that range. They had some trouble keeping the ball as they committed 12 turnovers which resulted in 18 points for Charlotte.
Zach LaVine led the way for the Bulls on offense with 23 points on nine of 15 shooting along with seven assists. DeMar DeRozan also was solid efficiency wise, hitting seven of his 13 attempts in route to 17 points. However, he registered just one assist. Nikola Vucevic took just six shot attempts, finish with six points, three assists and five rebounds.
Coby White got the start over Ayo Dosunmu and finished with 19 points with most of them coming at the end of the third and in the fourth quarter. If there is any positive from this game that you could possibly take away, it’s that for the second game in a row Coby is shooting well from three. Patrick Williams had 15 points along with four rebounds and three assists. But again, an old problem occurred where he took just seven shot attempts. He even got garbage time minutes in the fourth so it’s tough seeing such a low number. If Williams wants to continue to grow as a player, he has to be more assertive when he has the ball and take more shots.
Billy Donovan played five reserves in this game. Dosunmu played the most, finishing with 16 points and three assists in 28 minutes. Tristan Thompson finished with seven points and four boards while Derrick Jones Jr. had four points and three rebounds. It seems the coaching staff is open to giving him more minutes in the rotation as of late and are experimenting with playing him at the four position more rather than earlier in the season when he played as a small ball five.
Javonte Green scored four points and grabbed three rebounds in 15 minutes. Troy Brown Jr. knocked down two three-pointers, dished out four dimes, along with five rebounds.
Charlotte shot lights out all game, finish with a field goal percentage of 60.5 and a 73.6 true shooting percentage. They had seven players finish in double figures with four of them scoring 15 or more.
Even though this game didn’t mean anything for Chicago seeding wise, it was still a troubling performance given they played their usual rotation and we are only days away from the end of the regular season. The Bulls are in free fall at the moment and the time has run out for them to try and get back on track. Game 1 of the playoffs will be here by next weekend and the way Chicago is playing, it’s not going to be pretty if they keep this up. The regular season finale is against Minnesota on Sunday night.