Once again, I’m asking the starters to play like … well … starters.
While it wasn’t necessarily the excruciatingly slow start that we saw in weeks past, the Bulls allowed the Pelicans to get into a groove early. New Orleans started the night 6-9 from downtown to grab a 24-18 lead in the 1st quarter. Then, per usual, it was the Bulls’ bench that had to come in and clean things up.
The second unit – alongside an explosive Zach LaVine – played the kind of uptempo style that tends to lead to good things. They went on to completely flip the script with a barrage of highlight dunks and transition scores, gaining a 5-point advantage before the starters took back over.
Then, the Bulls decided not to guard Trey Murphy. The 40.0 percent 3-point shooter went on to add two more 3s and a driving dunk to his first-half box score, helping the Pelicans take a 58-53 lead into the locker room.
With a chance to come out and prove that last game’s discouraging blowout wasn’t a sign of worse days, the Bulls did exactly the opposite. An Ayo Dosunmu airball led to a Brandon Ingram 3. A Vucevic turnover led to a CJ McCollum 3. And a bad rotation led to another Trey Murphy 3. New Orleans started the quarter on a 9-0 run, and the game was practically over from there.
The Chicago Bulls just aren’t a good basketball team right now. They have lost five of their last six games and were just handed their second-straight blowout. In my opinion, this isn’t a coaching problem or an effort problem (although, we can question certain aspects of those things). This is a roster construction problem.
I’ll probably rant about this in a separate post soon, but the front office had a chance to fix the glaring holes on this roster over the summer. While Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond have played better than expected, neither of them checked a major box for this team. The Bulls are still starving for 3-point shooting and are still in desperate need of better interior defense. And we’re seeing the ramifications of that now.
I’d seriously love to hear what this front office has to say about that, but chances are they won’t open their mouth until the trade deadline. Anyway, we’ll talk more about what has to change for this team tomorrow.
Check out the full box score here.