Five seconds remaining on the clock, Patrick Beverley is shaken off his man, Tyrese Haliburton pulls up from well beyond the arc, and the go-ahead three-pointer falls. The ball goes into the hoop, but the hopes and dreams of every Chicago Bulls fan in attendance are what pours out the basket as the ball makes its way to the floor before its thud is deafened by the crowd.
I get it, game-winners happen. As Stacey King would say, big-time players make big-time plays. You win some, you lose some. It’s just that the Bulls have been losing some far more often than they’ve been winning some as of late. The state of this team is frankly quite deflating these days, and nobody could have painted that picture quite as clearly as an artist like Haliburton himself.
Alas, there’s still time to make a change this season. 17 games. That’s all the Chicago Bulls have left to pick up the pieces, salvage what they can, and be the best basketball team they can be. Whether making a playoff run at this point is a realistic goal is certainly a topic worth debating, but at the very least, it’s an interesting one. So just how big is Chicago’s shot at redemption, anyways?
Time is running out for the Chicago Bulls to redeem their 2022-23 season.
With 17 games left on the dock and the NBA’s 12th-hardest remaining strength of schedule, things aren’t going to be an easy ride from here on out. For what it’s worth, I’ve gone ahead and predicted the results in each of these games. But as we all know, it’s virtually impossible to know what this year’s Bulls squad is going to do next.
- March 8 @ Nuggets: L
- March 11 @ Rockets: W
I don’t think anyone should be holding out much hope for a notoriously poor road team like Chicago to have much success against the NBA’s best home team in Denver. Fortunately, they’ll have a chance to pivot against Houston after a few days of rest, and can help the Rockets along in their pursuit of this year’s top draft selection with a win.
- March 15 vs. Kings: L
- March 17 vs. Timberwolves: L
- March 18 vs. Heat: W
After that, the Bulls will host three games in four days against playoff-caliber competition. The Kings are simply playing at a level beyond Chicago right now, but they could still sneak out a win against a Heat roster that has faltered lately. The Bulls’ matchup with Minnesota is the one I find most interesting, as I wouldn’t be surprised to see either of these two teams walk away with a win. I don’t expect them to have an answer for Anthony Edwards, however, so I’m swinging this one in the Timberwolves’ favor.
- March 20 @ 76ers: L
- March 22 vs. 76ers: L
The Chicago Bulls have still failed to ever defeat Joel Embiid in their 12 meetings, and this isn’t the team that’s going to break the streak.
- March 24 @ Trail Blazers: L
- March 26 @ Lakers: L
- March 27 @ Clippers: L
- March 29 vs. Lakers: W
Hitting the road once more, I don’t expect a back-to-back in Crypto.com Arena to be kind to the Bulls. Given the fact Chicago is directly incentivized if the Trail Blazers qualify for their playoffs due to the status of their traded first-round pick, the Bulls could very well finish the road trip 0-3. Without LeBron James around to stabilize the team, however, I don’t see Chicago dropping both games against the Lakers here.
- March 31 @ Hornets: W
- April 2 vs. Grizzlies: L
- April 4 vs. Hawks: W
This was without a doubt the hardest stretch of games to predict, but I actually have the Bulls winning one here on the road against a Hornets squad that just cannot seem to avoid the injury bug. Even without Ja Morant, the Grizzlies should have no trouble dispatching the Bulls, but I do believe they can rebound with a win against the Atlanta Hawks due to Trae Young’s repeated offensive struggles against Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu.
- April 5 @ Bucks: L
- April 7 @ Mavericks: L
- April 9 vs. Pistons: W
The Bucks and Mavericks should be jostling for playoff position here at the end of the season while Chicago will be out of the postseason picture, so it shouldn’t be too difficult coaxing a win out of the Bulls here. That being said, I’d still love to see the Bulls end the year on a high note by securing their 15th consecutive win against the Detroit Pistons to keep the streak alive and well heading into next season.
This would bring the Bulls to a 35-47 record to end the year, which would be their lowest mark since… well, two years ago. It’s becoming increasingly evident that this is who the Bulls have been all along. Fortunately, this poor finish should be enough to secure Chicago at least a decent shot at retaining their draft pick in the upcoming draft.