The Bulls brushed off lesser opponents last season like they were a piece of dandruff. Now, the Bulls are that piece of dandruff.
(Look, this is just an analogy, ok! I don’t have dandruff! That’s what the Head and Shoulders is for …)
Despite preaching continuity in the offseason, the Bulls haven’t been able to take care of struggling teams like they used to. In fact, the Bulls are just 6-10 against teams that currently sit below .500 in either conference. And this includes putrid losses to the Rockets, Spurs, Magic, and Thunder – four of the seven-worst teams in the NBA.
Their inability to beat these struggling teams has been particularly mind-boggling when we consider their success around some of the East’s top squads. In games against the Bucks, Celtics, Nets, 76ers, and Heat, the Bulls hold a 9-3 record. These victories have proven that they are capable of performing at a high level and rising to the occasion. So why is it so hard to do that against the teams that you’re supposed to do that against?
I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know the Bulls better figure it out fast. Positive Residual has Chicago facing the 4th-easiest schedule from here on out, while Tankathon actually lists Chicago as having the easiest strength of schedule.
This upcoming stretch, in particular, looks to be one of the least imposing of the season. Seven of the team’s next 11 games will come against opponents who currently sit below .500. And this will include matchups against each of East’s bottom-three teams (Magic, Pistons, Hornets x2).
In other words, the door is wide open for this veteran team to re-enter the playoff conversation and put together an impressive second-half run. Can they finally take advantage or only give fans more of a reason to question what the front office is building? For the sake of my sanity, let’s hope it’s the latter.