April has been a tough month for the Bulls. So far, in ten games, they have achieved a .500 record, an unlikely feat for one of the league’s most dominant teams. This past week should have been somewhat of a breather with three games against under-.500 teams before a match-up against the Miami Heat, but that was not the case.
Sunday saw the Bulls in the Palace of Auburn Hills grabbing a 100-94 win in overtime against the Detroit Pistons, yet the win was not what would be expected. The victory included 19 turnovers for the back-to-back Central Division champions. In the loss versus Washington, the Bulls committed 12 turnovers. During last night’s disappointing loss to Miami, Chicago had 13 turnovers. Coach Tom Thibodeau knows how harmful turnovers can be, especially when they start to accumulate.
“When you turn it over, it takes away energy,” mentioned Thibodeau. “A certain amount of mistakes are going to happen. But that doesn’t absolve you from sprinting back and protecting your basket and not conceding two points.”
The Bulls would have been capable of defeating both Washington and Miami, as well as achieving a less stressful victory over Detroit, if the excessive turnovers were prevented. As the playoffs approach, it will be crucial for them to take better care of the ball.
Last year’s playoff series against the Indiana Pacers came as a bit of a surprise. The Bulls advanced to the next round winning the series 4-1, but it was much closer than it appeared. The wins did not come easy as the Pacers fought hard, but retaliation prevailed as they advanced to the second round.
With this season being so competitive, Chicago has a legitimate chance of facing Milwaukee, New York, or Philadelphia in the first round. Two of these teams have defeated them already, and that was just the regular season. Playoff atmospheres are much different than the ones present during the regular season. A well-played regular season does not necessarily result in postseason success, meaning a playoff series resembling last season’s is possible. If the high turnover rate continues, it should not be a surprise if the losses pile up and prevents the Bulls from winning championship number seven.