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Bulls vs. Cavaliers recap: a “Karnisovas dub” as Chicago stays close and loses late

when nothing changes...nothing changes

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

It was a familiar script as the Bulls lost their 3rd straight game in not-exactly-close fashion due to a terrible 4th quarter. Chicago had their highest lead at 13 points midway through the third quarter, only to see it go to to a 13 point deficit by the time it was under four minutes to go in the game. A big chunk was the Cavs going on a 22-4 run to start the 4th quarter. The Bulls showed Arturas Karnisovas some resiliency and improvement against better opponents to get that deficit to within two possessions, so I suppose this was another ‘close loss’ in AK’s eyes as his Bulls went down 97-89.

The Cavs, the only other team to not make a deadline move, had every excuse to be the one that’d lose this game:

Karnisovas likely (indicated with his past words) thinks that Cavs offensive performance was entirely due to the quality of Bulls defense. Not recognizing that the Bulls are getting lucky, and still losing.

The Bulls offense continues to be predictable, inefficient, and sloppy. They went 5/21 from three. They had 22 turnovers, which was over 21% of their possessions.

Zach LaVine led with 23 points but there was a huge swath in the middle of the game where he did nothing. He had 5 turnovers. DeRozan had 6 TOs, and worryingly only 16 points, as his productivity has turned downwards and injury has started to crop up. Vuc went 0-4 from three, Coby White missed his first seven shots and finished with 4 points. Alex Caruso wouldn’t even look at the rim, and the Cavs were a-ok with that.

It’s a general problem: the Bulls are settling in to being losers.

They saw at the deadline there was no urgency or accountability from the front office. They even said (out loud!) that bringing in new players would be too much of a shock and would backfire.

I don’t think they recognized how damaging it would be to the locker room to keep everything the same.

Maybe they quickly pivot (aka, ‘flail’) and add a buyout guy. That won’t help the overall sense of complacency that this team has imparted from ownership on down.