The Chicago Bulls finished up 2019 with a blowout loss at home to the Bucks. Here are some things I loved and some things I hated from the final loss of the year.
There’s good news and bad news for Chicago Bulls fans. The bad news? The team lost by 21 points tonight and wasn’t competitive at all in the second half of tonight’s game. The good news? There won’t be any more losses in 2019! That’s something to celebrate, right?
Here’s tonight’s love/hate list.
Hate – Lauri Markkanen’s light workload
Lauri Markkanen was questionable to play tonight due to an illness he’s been struggling with. Normally, that means I’d be okay with him only playing 27 minutes, but he looked healthy when he was on the floor, and he was the Bulls’ best player tonight. He scored 18 points on an efficient 6-of-12 shooting from the field and 5-of-9 shooting from 3-point range.
If Markkanen wasn’t feeling well enough to play more than he played, then I’m wrong and Jim Boylen did the right thing by keeping his workload light. But if Markkanen was fine and just wasn’t given a lot of opportunities to play, then that’s really bad.
The Bulls needed more Lauri tonight.
Love – Wendell Carter Jr. facing up
Wendell Carter Jr. continued his stretch of offensive confidence tonight. He missed both of his 3-point attempts, but the mere fact that he shot two threes is a great thing. He also shot a couple of mid-range jumpers that looked smooth.
For the Bulls to reach their ceiling as a team, they need Wendell to keep facing up and shooting the ball when the defense is playing off of him.
Hate – Kris Dunn’s offense
Kris Dunn basically got played off the floor tonight. The Bucks weren’t threatened by him when he had the ball, and they proved it by giving him ample room on the perimeter.
The Bulls couldn’t figure out how to take advantage of the Bucks’ strategy. Dunn had to be yanked off the court after only playing 19 total minutes and shooting 1-of-6 from the field.
Love – Coby White getting in the paint
Coby White wasn’t all that efficient from inside the 3-point arc tonight (4-of-12), but I love that he was actively trying to get in the lane, not just settling for deep bombs.
The ceiling of a player who only comes into the game to get hot and cash threes is fairly low. We know what the career arc of a guy like that looks like. But if a player with microwave ability from deep can also get in the lane and score around the basket, then he becomes a legitimate threat on offense.
Coby’s an underrated driver. He slithers off of screens like a snake and weaves his way towards the hoop. His floater game is improving and he’s strong around the rim. We need to see more of this going forward.
Hate – The third quarter
The Bulls went on a nifty little run in the second quarter and were positioned to go into halftime only down by one point. As time was winding down in the quarter, the Bulls’ defense did a nice job of forcing Eric Bledsoe into a tough, low percentage 3-point attempt. Wendell Carter Jr. bailed him out, though, with a poor foul. That led to the Bucks regaining some momentum heading into the break.
The Bucks outscored the Bulls 40-25 in the third quarter, and they didn’t look back. The Bulls simply couldn’t get anything going on offense and couldn’t stop the Bucks on defense.
The Bulls’ next game is against the Utah Jazz on January 2.