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Bulls vs. Magic recap: who cares? they don’t!

ANOTHER ‘Karnisovas Dub’

NBA: Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls have lost 4 in a row, 3 since a trade deadline where they did nothing and AK let us know he’s not good at this. The team seems to have taken the hint: there is neither any support nor any repercussions.

Could go into this particular loss, where they scored 91 points, 9 fewer than the Magic, AT HOME.

It was another game where defensively they actually performed well (102.4 DRtg), and bewilderingly have the #7 defense in the league this season. But Orlando is a bottom-5 offense, and it was another game where an opponent has luckily shot under 30% on threes.



The Magic only had 8 three-point makes in this game...and they still out-scored the Bulls from distance by 15 points.

That’s because the Bulls are now turning towards unluckily-bad when it comes to shooting, and they have far lower to fall from in that category.

And as we, though not Arturas, knows: the misses are bad enough, and the lack of volume makes it worse:

This is a confluence of many factors: poor roster construction, poor coaching, and a lack of ‘care factor’.

We know the team doesn’t have shooters. They could still cobble together a pretty good offense earlier in the season but they’re extremely thin and some health luck has also run out. Javonte Green is out for a while. You put in Derrick Jones Jr. as backup center to add some versatility, and he gets hurt midway through this game. Alex Caruso is always hurt (hmm). Andre Drummond is a novelty act. Goran Dragic is now toast.

Dalen Terry got some minutes last night, and it became a story...though that was just because it was something different, not necessarily good.

Coby White is ok but likely will never be consistent. Ayo has stagnated. And Patrick Williams ain’t it.

So I get why there’s a lot of frustration with Zach LaVine’s play. As a max player he’s supposed to be a solution, and he’s not.

But he’s not the problem either. I can sympathize with LaVine when he’s out there in a lineup that if you told me was Donovan purposefully sabotaging him I wouldn’t necessarily be convinced otherwise:

(for some reason video won’t embed: he drove and committed an offensive foul)

But whatever the rationale, LaVine is also clearly just checked-out and just getting his. He knows his team needs 3-point shooting, Donovan says he should be taking over 10 attempts a game. He took 3 last night.

And the one consistently productive thing on this team, DeMar DeRozan, has shown lower productivity the past few weeks and revealed he’s playing hurt. But he just wants to get to the All-Star game, who can blame him! His teammates just want to go on vacation.

It still just continues to be incredible that anyone could’ve seen the Bulls play since the vaunted blowup in Minnesota and think it was a sign of genuine improvement. It’s bad enough the team partner broadcasters thought this, but the guy paid very well to figure this out was also fooled! There were some positive signs, but also some unsustainable signs and outright flukes.

A big luck factor is the Bulls goal of merely being in the top ten in the East. Karnisovas said he was distraught that they could’ve been 8th (lol) if they only beat Memphis. They’ve lost that game and every one since. Despite all that, they’re still only a half-game out of achieving season success. The Hawks, currently in 8th and 2.5 games ahead of the Bulls, also had an inexcusable loss last night. The Wiz are in 10th and lost last night as well, and are the Wiz. These are not worth adversaries, though I suppose in another way they totally are.

And that’s the problem, we have to step back and realize this franchise having one competitive post-TradeDeadline season out of every ten just turns the discourse into arguing about pointless players: Russel Westbrook sucks. Dalen Terry sucks. Andre Drummond, Derrick Jones, Wendell Carter, Patrick Williams, Goran Dragic...this is not important! But we’re ‘forced’ to discuss it because that’s the game the Bulls are in: the quest to be average, or even below-average but still get to the play-in, and collect a tax payout.