On the most recent episode of the Talkin’ Toros podcast, Adam brought up a Wendell Carter Jr. quote that sounded like something that would come from a seasoned veteran after a tough loss.
Let’s re-visit that:
“If we talk about being a playoff team, we can’t have moments like this. It’s just a conversation that needs to be had. We gotta look amongst each other and just nut up. Take our individual defense a little more seriously. Rebound more.”
At some point, the Bulls — starting with Carter, their defensive anchor — need to back those words up.
The Cavaliers shot better than 70 percent from the field in the fourth quarter. And for the game, Cleveland out-rebounded Chicago by a 47-32 margin. Those two key factors – which Carter made a point to circle when discussing Monday’s loss to the Knicks – played a huge role in the Bulls’ 117-111 loss to the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
The defeat dropped the Bulls to 1-4, a disappointing mark for a team that talked about having playoff aspirations entering the season, but have yet to back them up with their play against weaker opponents. After all it isn’t getting easier.
Bulls next 15 games, what is their record on Dec. 1st? #BullsNation
– DET (2x)
– @ IND
– vs. LAL
– @ ATL
– vs. HOU
– vs. NYK
– MIL (2x)
– vs. BRK
– vs. MIA
– @ CHA
– POR (2x)
– @ GSW
— Jordan Maly (@JordanCMaly) October 31, 2019
This was supposed to be the easy stretch of the schedule for the Bulls. And yet, it’s proven to be anything but … and it’s mostly of their own doing.
A stretch of opponents that should have lent itself to a team opening up on a nice run and building a cushion when the inevitable tough times roll around has been far more difficult than expected. It doesn’t help when you struggle to score with any amount of consistency, defend with the necessary tenacity, and rebound on either end of the floor.
What makes this even more frustrating is that the players who should be carrying the load have been laying bricks when shooting jumpers and laying eggs elsewhere on the court.
Lauri Markkanen is riding the struggle bus with his inability to score in the post and ice-cold shooting from the perimeter. Zach LaVine hasn’t come anywhere near making the case that he deserves more respect, let alone an all-star spot. Wendell Carter Jr. is the only big-man in a frontcourt that is without an identity. At some point, these guys will get it together because they are athletically gifted and skilled. But if that time doesn’t come soon, the time will come for us to be looking at lottery projections much sooner than expected.
I expect Eli will have more for you tomorrow after another disappointing loss. Maybe he can make us feel better about a start that has been nothing short of maddening.