Another second-half collapse for first-year head coach Billy Donovan and the Chicago Bulls looked like another sign that this team is throwing in the towel down the stretch. Despite a host of big moves at the trade deadline back on March 25, the Bulls are actually playing worse than they did beforehand.
Following what looked to be a potential turning point for Donovan and the Bulls last week, the team has now put together a three-game losing streak. And two of the three games that are part of this building losing streak were winnable for the Bulls.
On the night of May 1, it was the Atlanta Hawks and star point guard Trae Young that managed to topple the Bulls. The Hawks got the win over the Bulls at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA, by the final score of 108-97. It was another major second-half collapse that doomed the Bulls in the end.
They were outscored 28-12 in the third quarter by the Hawks, and then 26-22 in the fourth. The way the Bulls showed out in the third quarter was one of their worst performances of the season to date. There was a point where the Hawks went on a 13-0 run over the span of roughly four minutes in the third quarter which helped them wipe out the sizable Bulls first-half lead.
Following this loss to the Hawks, the Bulls now sport an increasingly poor record of 26-38. Really the only saving graces in the Bulls starting five in this loss came with the play of veteran forward Thaddeus Young and rookie forward Patrick Williams.
On the night, Young finished up with a team-high 20 points, on a solid 10-of-13 shooting from the field. He added seven rebounds, a team-high nine assists, two steals, no blocks, and two turnovers.
Meanwhile, Williams gave the Bulls 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, 2-of-2 from beyond the arc, and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line. Williams also added two rebounds, one assist, and one steal.
But it was what Williams had to say after this loss to the Hawks that really showed the difference of opinions in the locker room at the moment.
What Patrick Williams had to say about the Chicago Bulls?
After the game, Williams reportedly stated that “nobody in the locker room has given up on the season”. The fact that he even had to discuss this topic in the first place following a tough road loss to the Hawks shows just what point this Bulls team is at heading into the final stretch run.
It was hard to think that the Bulls wouldn’t at least get a spot in the play-in tournament later this month after making so many big moves at the trade deadline back on March 25. Adding key pieces like star center Nikola Vucevic, center Daniel Theis, and shooting guard/small forward Troy Brown Jr., among others, hasn’t paid too many dividends for this team as of yet.
The Bulls do still remain roughly three games behind the Washington Wizards in the race to land the final spot in the play-in tournament this season. But with only eight games remaining on the season, and a really difficult set of opponents, the Bulls are facing a tall task if they were to still make it into the play-in tournament.
A combination of missing star shooting guard Zach LaVine and a lack of team chemistry coming together post-trade deadline has largely doomed this team.
Next up for Williams and the Bulls is a meeting with the second-place team in the Eastern Conference at this point of the season, the Philadelphia 76ers. The Bulls will face the Sixers at home at the United Center on May 3, with tip-off time set for 8 p.m. CT.