(Michael: Apologies for the delayed postgame tonight, that was my fault getting it out as an editor, not Eli’s!).
The Bulls went 12 rounds and lost … again.
Similar to their performance two nights ago against the Jazz, the Bulls managed to play neck-and-neck with one of the better teams in the NBA … for a while. The Celtics may have been down All-Star Kemba Walker, but with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Gordon Heyward still in the lineup, this felt like another obvious loss before tip-off. And while the Bulls did ultimately drop the game, they did put on another competitive (and relatively entertaining) performance.
The more this team hangs around with top-competition, the more frustrating this situation becomes. Chicago clearly has a bulk of the young talent needed to give nearly any team a run for their money, but they also have the inexperience that will never allow them to truly close things out.
A lot of this goes back to Jim Boylen, who just can’t find a way to channel his team’s strengths and post a winning performance. Tonight, the Bulls ran out of timeouts by the 4:09 mark in the 4th quarter and were down only 98-92 at the time. Talk about bad management.
How in the hell can an NBA team be out of timeouts with 4:09 to go in the game? Especially against a team on the second night of a hard-fought road back-to-back, missing its star lead guard. #Bulls
— Dan Bernstein (@dan_bernstein) January 5, 2020
For the most part, I think we can say the players are carrying their own weight over these past several games. The team is looking like a much stronger, cohesive unit, and six of the eight players who took the court tonight for the Bulls scored in double-digits.
- Zach LaVine – 35pts
- Lauri Markkanen – 15pts
- Kris Dunn – 13pts (7 assists, 3 steals)
- Tomas Satoransky – 12pts
- Thad Young – 12pts
- Wendell Carter Jr. – 11pts (14 rebs)
The effort on their part is there, but the leadership just isn’t.
Thursday night’s loss against the Jazz represented the lack of a true closer and No. 1 guy on this team. Tonight demonstrated a similar sentiment, however, you have to think a team with the Bulls skill set can still pull off the occasional “upset” victory (especially when a team is on the back-end of a back-to-back) if the leadership is in the right place.
Frustrating. Go enjoy some playoff football.