New Year, Same Bulls; Chicago gets blown out by Orlando

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls will have to wait until Friday versus Indiana to start off 2019 on a high note as they got blown out by Orlando 112-84. Their record falls to 10-28 on the season.

Despite the calendar change, that doesn’t mean the Bulls are automatically better after tonight’s loss versus Orlando no matter how much we want them to be.  84 points was all the Bulls could muster against the 16th best defense in the league resulting in the fourth lowest scoring game for the Chicago Bulls this season and their second lowest scoring game under Jim Boylen.

You may not believe this stat, but the Bulls defense under Jim Boylen has improved drastically over time. In their first seven games under Boylen, the team ranked 17th in the league giving up 109.4 points per game. Their last 6 games, they’ve improved that ranking reaching all the way up to 4th and giving up just 102.7 points per game.

The defensive performance that Boylen was looking to see from this Bulls team never showed up however as the Orlando Magic shot a season-high 57.9% from the field.

The Chicago Bulls began the first and third quarter on a shooting slump as they didn’t get their first buckets of each quarter at the 9:30 mark and 7:10 mark respectively.  The trio of Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen all played 28 minutes and combined for more than half of the teams’ points (44 out of the 84). Dunn and Lauri both finished with 14 points and LaVine with 16.

Dunn – who helped cut into the Magic’s lead during the first half  – went on a mini run by himself where he scored or assisted on four straight possessions generating 7 out of his 14 total points and 3 assists. Kris’ streak of seven straight games with at least 6 assists ended.

As for the rookies, 6th overall pick, Mo Bamba got the best of Wendell Carter Jr. tonight. Bamba scored 10 points off the bench to go along with 5 rebounds.  As for Wendell, he only saw 13 minutes and 28 seconds of playing time as his foul troubles continue to follow him into 2019. He did not generate a single point and a lone rebound was all he could show for it.

"“I didn’t need to put him back in and sometimes you learn by sitting too. Maybe have some introspection, realize I have to play my minutes better when I’m out there.” – Chicago Bulls Head Coach, Jim Boylen“I didn’t come out with the correct edge. I wasn’t playing well. I kind of feel like it’s all my fault. I wasn’t affecting the game in any way. I wasn’t playing the best defense. I wasn’t making any shots. I wasn’t rebounding well.” – Chicago Bulls Center, Wendell Carter Jr."

The opposition that is the Orlando Magic assisted on 31 of their 44 field goals made and shot an efficient 11-of-26 from the three-point line. They also dominated in the blocks department shutting out the Bulls 9 to 0.  Nikola Vucevic led the team in scoring with 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds.  Terrence Ross scored 15 points off the bench shooting 3-of-4 from deep.

Head Coach, Jim Boylen has been doing outstanding work as of late since his first week as coach of the Bulls improving the teams’ defense, but he can’t seem to find the missing link that is plaguing the Bulls offense. In their last 6 games, they have a offensive rating that is good for 27th in the league. After receiving no playing time in Toronto’s game due to coaches’ decision, Boylen turned to the scoring guard that is Antonio Blakeney.  He generated 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting. However, most of his points didn’t come until garbage time.

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One has to think of how much longer will Boylen tolerate before he turns to the free-agent that the Bulls spent most if not all of their cap space on in Jabari Parker. Parker’s days may be numbered in Chicago, but if Boylen wants to improve that offensive rating, he will have to turn to the $20 million man.