A Must-Win in Charlotte, Patrick Williams Honored, Will Perdue Speaks Facts, and Other Bulls Bullets
The only thing more embarrassing than losing to an Indiana Pacers team that was without its best player and on a seven-game losing streak would be losing to the 13-win Charlotte Hornets.
Don’t you dare, Bulls. Don’t you freakin’ dare.
- The Hornets stink. In fact, have you ever left a tuna fish sandwich in a hot car over the weekend? Me neither. But I feel confident saying that’s what the Hornets smell like. While there are still a few intriguing young players on that roster like LaMelo Ball, Jalen McDaniels, and rookie Mark Williams, the Hornets have consistently proven to be one of the most dysfunctional units in the league. They currently hold the 4th-worst defense and single-worst offense in the NBA, and they have also won just two of their last nine games.
- The Bulls beat this team 106-88 back in November, holding them to 39.1 percent shooting on the night. Things were so easy that the bench got to carry a bulk of the workload, as Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr., and Goran Dragic finished with a combined 43 points. I’d like to imagine that the Bulls can cruise to a similarly easy victory tonight, especially if LaMelo Ball (who is questionable) doesn’t play. But I’d be lying if I said I’m not already mentally preparing to get gut-punched so hard my stomach comes out of my mouth.
- Here’s one thing the Bulls have to remember for tonight: The Hornets can get hot. Despite having one of the worst offenses in the NBA, they have scored 120+ points 13 times this season and twice in their last four games. Relatedly, they do share the basketball pretty darn well. They average the 13th-most assists per game and have the 7th-best assist-to-turnover ratio. So if the Bulls can let a Pacers team that is without Tyrese Haliburton drop 70 points in the second half, there is no question they can let this Hornets crew get into a rhythm. The defense needs to show up!
- A big shoutout to Patrick Williams for having his high school jersey retired.
- I know this may not always feel like the biggest deal from the outside, but I’m sure it is for the player involved. Unlike in college, high school is oftentimes where players spend multiple years honing their craft. Not only are these some of the most formative years in their personal life, but this is where the path is first paved for true NBA success. Congrats to Pat! I love seeing that smile on his face.
- Will Perdue didn’t hold back in his postgame commentary on Tuesday night. After the Bulls collapsed in the second half due largely to the Pacers’ ramped-up defensive intensity and ball pressure, the former Bull had this to say: “I know this for a fact. On opposing team’s scouting reports, it says “physicality will influence how this team plays.”
- Yikes. On one hand, I’m sure these words appear on a handful of scouting reports for a handful of teams around the league. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. If anything, this suggests that opposing teams view the Bulls as at least somewhat mentally weak and careless. And the fact this is the case for a roster that has three veteran All-Stars is immensely frustrating. I guess it only speaks further to the blatant issues of fit and roster construction.
“What you saw in the second half was the Indiana Pacers ramped up the pressure, they extended their defense, and then the Bulls started to turn the ball over. It became hot potato and it also became isolation basketball. It wasn’t moving and it wasn’t swinging side-to-side …
We talked about this,” Perdue said. “We’ve seen this happen time and time again. Not only this year, but last year. It’s almost like every time we think they’ve learned, and they have put their mistakes behind them, and they have capitalized on opponents and realized what their weakness are, it’s almost like they get amnesia.”
- Likewise, I also think this is another indication that opposing teams recognize how greatly the Bulls need a true facilitator. The absence of a point guard like Lonzo Ball leaves the team very susceptible to reckless turnovers and thoughtless offensive possessions. We’ve watched teams take advantage of that all season long.
- Anyway, I recommend you give Perdue’s full postgame a watch. Kendall Gill, of course, also spoke some real facts.
- No, seriously, I need an answer …
- Dame Lillard tied Michael Jordan for the third-most 60-point games in NBA history.
- I can listen to DeMar talk about his sneakers all day.
- Lu used a SpongeBob meme, so I have to share it:
- Would you make the trade?
- The Jets really want to get their hands on Aaron Rodgers, huh? Fine by me!