Chicago Bulls Prove Their Unworthy Status on Thursday Night


Even when the Chicago Bulls are supposedly the “favorites” against a LeBron James-led team in the postseason, the Bulls bow out to the “King” once again on their home floor.

Despite blowing a big lead at home in Game 5 and losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in five games during the 2011 postseason, you could feel that the Chicago Bulls were coming, but they weren’t quite ready to take that next step.

More from Bulls History

After Thursday night’s 21-point loss to James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, you were left wondering how in the world did the Chicago Bulls make it out of the first round against Milwaukee.

For the fourth time since 2010, a team with LeBron James on the roster, ended the Bulls season.

To put Thursday night in more pathetic (and simpler) terms as to why the Bulls will be watching the rest of the postseason from home: The Bulls scored 31 points in the opening quarter of Game 6. They scored 29 points in the next two quarters.

This was the team that was supposed to slay “King James”? This was the team who was supposed to battle the mighty Western Conference Champion in The Finals?

Here’s some more on the Bulls’ horrendous Game 6: Kyrie Irving tweaked his left knee (again) and missed the final 33:47 of the game. In that span, Cleveland outscored Chicago, 59-38.

Oh, and James scored 15 points on 22 shots.

To be fair to the Bulls, their season ended this past Sunday, when James drilled a fall-away jumper to give Cleveland a 86-84 victory and tied the series at two. You could feel the energy being sucked right out of the United Center and the entire Bulls roster as James and his teammates celebrated.

Despite a valiant effort in Game 5, the Bulls never really stood a chance against “Peak LeBron“. When LeBron James doesn’t turn the ball over and drops 38 points on you, just pack it in and try again tomorrow.

But, then again, that’s been the story of the season for the Bulls … and the story of the Tom Thibodeau era.

Thibodeau’s teams have never backed down, but they’ve never been able to get over the hump. The Bulls were locked in on Cleveland ever since James’ “I’m Coming Home” letter, and still couldn’t find a way past the one person keeping them from the next step.

The Bulls have been tugging at James’ cape for five seasons, and although the injury bug has bitten them hard in years past, they still didn’t have enough to slay King James at full strength.

However, this year’s example of “so close, yet so far away” for the Bulls is the most disappointing of their four playoff exits against James.

Derrick Rose was healthy, Jimmy Butler had his best season to date, Pau Gasol played well when he was on the floor, and the Bulls still found a way to get embarrassed by 21 points in a close-out game against James.

It’s easy to say this now, but what about this team said this was “the year”? This team, who lost to the Utah Jazz by 20 at home in January, barely showed you at all this season that they were a title contender.

With teams like Cleveland, Golden State and Los Angeles (Clippers), you could see “it” throughout the year. Outside of 10 wins in a 11-game stretch in December, what about this team made one think they would be playing in June?

Sure, the roster looked great on paper, but all you had to do was watch the Milwaukee series and realize that this team wasn’t getting past LeBron James.

This was tweeted this out after the Bulls lost at home to Milwaukee in Game 5 and had to go back to the Bradley Center for Game 6. Yeah, they won by 54, but you honestly didn’t think they were going to do THAT to Cleveland, did you?

The Bulls got beat, plain and simple. When a team gets outrebounded by 21, misses 16 of their 20 three-point attempts, and the starting backcourt racked up a combined plus-minus of -45, you should lose by 20+ points.

The reason why Thursday night is so hard to digest is that this was supposed to be the best team during Tom Thibodeau‘s tenure.

And now, Thibodeau has a foot out the door already (according to most around the situation) and the roster may look completely different next season. Almost the entire roster is signed through next season, but with a new face on the sideline potentially, who knows who will want to stay or leave.

There’s no guarantees for what lies ahead for the Chicago Bulls, but one thing’s for sure: they’re still not ready to take that next step.

More from Pippen Ain't Easy

Next: Cleveland puts the Bulls out of their misery