When will the Chicago Bulls learn?
While the team put together a valiant effort in the second half, the outcome of this game was clear from the opening frame. The Bulls, once again, let their opponent rain buckets from behind the arc and pick them apart in the halfcourt to gain a 19-point lead. Only then did we see the good version of this roster begin to shine through, as the energy was met with execution and the 76ers’ lead started to trickle down.
The Bulls went on a 20-10 run in the final 5:27 of the first half to put themselves back into the game. Then, thanks to three 3-pointers from Nikola Vucevic early in the 3rd quarter, the Bulls were in a position to erase the deficit. Zach LaVine did just that with a 2-foot make before DeMar DeRozan gave the Bulls their first lead since 3-2 with his own deuce.
The deficit may have been gone, but its effects lingered. Whether it be a Javonte Green missed free throw, Coby throwing a sloppy pass, Zach LaVine missing clutch mid-range jumpers, Alex Caruso botching the wide-open attempt to tie at the buzzer, or a misused challenge by Billy Donovan, this game came down to the little things. And it’s hard not to think the team’s inability to execute those little things had something to do with the energy they expelled to crawl back into the game.
Indeed, this isn’t a winning formula. We know the Bulls are capable of going on big runs to get back into games, so why can’t they simply use that skill to stretch leads instead of erase them? It sounds obvious, but the more this team plays from behind the higher the likelihood they lose.
So, yeah, as fun as this game may have turned out, I’m still left with a pretty nasty taste in my mouth. If they simply played more competitively from the jump, the score very well could have landed on their side.
Check out the full box score here.