Chicago Bulls Week in Review – 11/10 to 11/19
The Chicago Bulls went 1-4 this week, continuing their slide towards the bottom of the NBA East and falling to 3-11 overall.
Chicago began their week with a loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday night. It was a stinker from start to finish, as the Bulls never lead during the game and trailed by double digits the entire second half. Bobby Portis led the team with 20 points and 11 rebounds, his second 20-point effort in as many games since he returned from suspension. Kris Dunn played well again coming off the bench with 16 points and five assists. Chicago only attempted nine free throws the entire game, six of which were by Portis. They struggled to stop the Pacers, specifically Victor Oladipo who led Indiana with 25 points. The team once again seemed to lack the grit that has kept them relatively competitive in some of their games this season.
The Bulls didn’t have much time to dwell on the loss as they flew out later that night to face the San Antonio Spurs in the second game of a back-to-back. Chicago struggled again against a Spurs team that was without their best perimeter players. San Antonio jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first half, the third straight game that Chicago has allowed this. Portis and Robin Lopez led the team with 17 points each. Bobby Portis has lead the team in scoring each game since his return from suspension. Kris Dunn also had 15 points off the bench. Fred Hoiberg suggested that changes to the lineup may be made going forward. Paul Zipser has struggled lately and was replaced at the start of the second half by Kris Dunn.
Chicago, once again, tried to bounce back on Wednesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, a rematch of 101-69 loss last month. The results this week were much of the same, as the Bulls lost 79-92. The Bulls scored only seven points in the first quarter and could not salvage the game after. Antonio Blakeney tied Lauri Markkanen for a team high 16 points. Blakeney had previously played just one minute in the NBA prior to Wednesday’s night game. Kris Dunn and Jerian Grant were a combined 2-16 from the field, leaving the starting point guard spot in more question. Chicago was without Justin Holiday and David Nwaba and the team once again struggled to create offense throughout the entire game.
The Bulls got their third win of the year on Friday night, beating the Charlotte Hornets 123-120. Kris Dunn scored a career-high 22 points in the win, while both Justin Holiday and Denzel Valentine scored their season best 27 points and 18 points respectively. The team shot a staggering 17 of 34 from beyond the three-point line. Behind late scores from Dunn and Valentine they were able to keep pace with the Hornets, who were led by Kemba Walker who dropped 47 points. Despite constantly losing Walker, the Bulls played well on defense and were able to get enough stops on a solid Charlotte team.
Unfortunately, Chicago could not sustain their momentum and they dropped another game on Sunday night to the struggling Phoenix Suns. Rookie Lauri Markkanen played well, dropping a career high 27 points and 13 rebounds. Kris Dunn also played well again with 17 points of his own. The Bulls could not stop the Suns’ late, who moved the ball in and out effectively to get open looks. Chicago seemed to settle for long jumpers late in the fourth, and when they weren’t falling it allowed Phoenix to pull ahead and seal the game.
Chicago has four more games this week, starting on Tuesday night in Los Angeles against the young Lakers. They then play the following night against the Utah Jazz, on Friday the 24th against the defending champs Golden State Warriors, and then on Sunday the 26th at home against the Miami Heat.
Stats and info courtesy of NBA.com