It Could Be Worse, But It’s Not Great Right Now for the Bulls


The Chicago Bulls gave up 42 points in the fourth quarter to a young Phoenix Suns team playing their third game in four nights at home. What is this team?

Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight entered the final quarter on Monday night against the Chicago Bulls with four points on seven attempts from the field.

He finished with 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting in Phoenix’s improbable 103-101 win over the Bulls on Monday night in Chicago.

All crazy, last-second prayers that get answered aside, the Bulls are not a good basketball team at the current juncture of the season.

How does a team beat the likes of Cleveland, Oklahoma City and San Antonio — teams with a combined record of 42-19 early in the season — then lose to Charlotte (twice) and a Phoenix team playing in the second game of a back-to-back set on the road?

You can blame the coaching staff.

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Just make sure to point your fingers at Derrick Rose‘s five turnovers to go along with his 37.1 shooting percentage around the rim on the season.

You can blame Fred Hoiberg for his horrific end-of-game management on Monday night.

Just make sure you remember Nikola Mirotic‘s awful attempt to sell contact in a tie game with about a minute left to play.

The Bulls just aren’t a good basketball team right now and it’s showing.

It’s December. There’s 64 games left in the regular season to figure this mess out. Plus, the Eastern Conference standings are just a complete zoo right now.

This is a perfect time to salvage such a chaotic start to this season. On Wednesday, the Bulls play in Boston against the Celtics. They only play three more road games for the rest of the month.

There’s plenty of room for improve and there’s seemingly an endless amount of time to fix things. Truth be told, it hasn’t been all bad. The Bulls still have the third-best defensive rating in the league (99.5) and the Jimmy ButlerPau Gasol duo are once again playing like stars that could find themselves in the All-Star Game again this season.

But, for a team that would supposed to explode like a bat out of hell offensively this season, that third-worst offensive rating in the NBA is looking quite concerning. Outside of his poor shooting around the rim, Rose is shooting just 35.5 percent from the field overall. Mirotic is shooting under 40 percent again this season.

And, you can count on one hand how many good performances Tony Snell has had while starting for the injured Mike Dunleavy.

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Could this be the year the Bulls make a move mid-season to turn the tide? It’s highly unlikely, but if any year were fitting for it, this would be the one. The Bulls need help on the wings. That part’s clear.

(Quite honestly, it’s been clear since Rose’s MVP season, but that’s a different discussion for another day.)

Even with Doug McDermott‘s fine start to the season on one end of the floor off the bench, his defense is eye-covering.

Monday seemed like the lowest point of this 18-game start for the Bulls.

Sure, Mirza Teletovic‘s heroic heave with 00.3 left in the game was more luck than anything. On top of that, Teletovic may have gotten away with an offensive foul on the rebound, but when you’re unable to get your defensive-minded big men in the game, not boxing out can happen and it did.

But, when you hold a team — a tired team — to 10 points in the third quarter and lead by 16 points, that’s a game you have to win.

Don’t complain about the playcalling, just win the game.

(This can probably be chalked up for another edition of #DerrickRoseSaysStuff (h/t SB Nation’s Blog a Bull), but this isn’t something that should be said after giving up 42 points in the fourth quarter of a loss.)

Next: Bulls-Suns Notes After Epic Collapse in 4th Quarter

However, knowing the Bulls, they’ll probably play their best overall game of the season on Wednesday night in Boston and the Phoenix debacle will be treated like it never happened.