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The Bulls are resting guys this final weekend, but it may not be enough
Final regular season post, aka weekend thread
The Bulls play-in seed is locked up, with two games to go in the regular season. At least for tonight, they are sitting DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Patrick Beverley. They’d be insane to play Alex Caruso, but he’s merely listed as ‘questionable’.
So these next two games will be extra-useless. Repeat after me and pledge: nothing will be gained, and nothing will be learned. I don’t care if Patrick Williams scores 40.
The Bulls being non-competitive (and that’s not a bad thing, just the truth) makes these games farcical, and it’s only worse now that the Dallas Mavericks, Friday night’s matchup, is doing the same.
It’s kind of a half-measure by the Mavs, who technically are still alive for the Western Conference’s play-in bracket but would need the OKC Thunder to lose their next two games to even have a chance. They’ve listed Luka Doncic as ‘probable’ to play, but are holding out rotation players Kyrie Irving, Josh Green, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, and Christian Wood.
Oddsmakers still have the Mavs as 8 point favorites at home.
They’re looking to lose (though not enough to sit Luka, I guess) as a way to keep their draft pick (top-10 protected) knowing they have a very remote chance of making the play-in tournament. They’re actually right with the Bulls in the tank race, though as we know the Bulls are far more likely to lose their pick as the protections for them are merely top-4.
So yeah, increasing a few percentage points chances to keep the pick is the practical goal for the Bulls organization. On the other hand, it’d be pretty funny if the Mavs were knocked out of the postseason entirely.
Not to go off too much on this aside, but it’s interesting to me that the Bulls and Mavs have the same slightly-below-mediocre record. Yet Arturas Karnisovas (and a lot of Bulls observers, frankly) propagate this idea that while the Mavs are unequivocally disappointing the Bulls are merely '“weird”. Chicago can beat good teams, and lose to bad or injured ones! So strange!
But the Mavs haven’t done this too? And, like, any pretty-blah team in an 82-game regular season? Last season’s Bulls being completely incapable of beating good teams was the fluke-y outlier, not this. The Bulls are not some very talented team that takes lesser opponents lightly. This is just the byproduct of having a roster that’s in the league middle.
The Mavs, just last month, lost back-to-back games against the Charlotte Hornets. They can lose to this Bulls team, even one playing Dalen Terry major minutes. I don’t fault the Bulls for not going further and holding out Vucevic (maybe he wants to get to 82 games played?) and others, it may not even matter.
We’ll have to see on Sunday who they hold out for that game, against the Pistons. I know Billy Donovan has professed the need for ‘rhythm’, but that’s just because he’s a coach being asked about competitiveness. Part of the coach mindset is thinking even weekend afternoon games against the league-worst team (also resting guys) is useful.
But the blogger mindset is different. I know these are pointless, so won’t be analyzing them. But use this post for all final-weekend Bulls comments. Certainly leave Twitter and do it on this website instead.
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