Chicago Bulls gear up for make-or-break 4-game home stand

Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Closing out the month of January, the Chicago Bulls remain just four games out of the sixth-seed and guaranteed playoff position in the Eastern Conference with a record of 23-26. This was certainly not the start this team was looking for, after racing out to a 31-18 record at this point of the season just one year ago. There’s still hope, however, that this season can be salvaged if the Bulls make a statement in their upcoming four games at home.

Over the next week, the Bulls will host the Clippers, Hornets, Trail Blazers, and Spurs at the United Center. These teams possess a combined record of 81-124 (.395) and will be Chicago’s easiest path toward returning to a .500 record.

Charlotte and San Antonio have been particularly disappointing this season, with each team currently in the top four of the NBA draft lottery. They’re geared more toward preparing for the future, and are the type of opponents a win-now team like the Bulls should make light work of.

If the Chicago Bulls aren’t able to capitalize on this favorable 4-game homestand ahead of the All-Star Break, this season may already be a lost cause.

Unfortunately, the Bulls haven’t exactly had the easiest time dispatching the competition this season, even when pitted against the NBA’s bottom feeders. The Bulls hold an embarrassing 9-11 record against teams with losing records, meaning no game on this homestand will be a freebie.

Led by superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers are surging up the standings after winning five of their last six games while the Trail Blazers are beginning to stack up wins with Damian Lillard appearing primed in MVP form. Dame has averaged a ridiculous 38.8 points and 7.7 assists on an impossibly efficient 73.3% true shooting percentage over his last 10 games, and he’ll look to take advantage against one of the league’s worst perimeter defenses in Chicago as well.

All that being said, all hope is not lost for these Chicago Bulls just yet. The Bulls have achieved a 12-8 record over their last 20 contests, while also just barely coming up short in four of those eight losses. By all means, this team looks much improved from the one that began the season 11-18, but the clock is ticking for their comeback efforts to actually mean something.

Here’s how the Eastern Conference playoff race currently shakes out, with the Celtics, Bucks, and 76ers clear playoff locks while the Magic, Hornets, and Pistons have resigned themselves to preparing for the future. The Bulls will be looking to crack into the top six teams here to avoid the play-in tournament among the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth-seeded teams.

  • #4 – Brooklyn Nets (31-19)
  • #5 – Cleveland Cavaliers (31-21)
  • #6 – Miami Heat (28-23)
  • #7 – New York Knicks (27-24)
  • #8 – Atlanta Hawks (25-26)
  • #9 – Washington Wizards (24-26)
  • #10 – Chicago Bulls (23-26)
  • #11 – Indiana Pacers (24-28)
  • #12 – Toronto Raptors (23-29)

The Bulls have 33 games remaining on the schedule, with the 11th easiest remaining strength of schedule — including 7 games against the NBA’s five worst teams in Houston, Detroit, Charlotte, San Antonio, and Orlando. If the Bulls can scratch out 3 wins (or if we’re being greedy, all 4) on this homestand, they’ll be within striking distance of having a winning record for the first time since October and will be in contention to qualify for the playoffs outright.

Given how this team has performed against sub-standard opposition, avoiding the play-in tournament needs to be a priority for Chicago. And if the Bulls can’t secure wins now when they need them the most, there will be little hope left amongst the fanbase that they’ll fare any better in the postseason. It’s officially make-or-break time for the Chicago Bulls.

Fact or Fiction on 5 Bulls trade deadline rumors. dark. Next