Predicting the Chicago Bulls next 6 games: Can they make a playoff push?

Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Bulls are beginning to hit their stride, winning 3 in a row and 5 of their last 6. They have been able to re-enter the playoff race behind some excellent play from its stars, Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. Additionally, they have been able to string together the best defensive rating in the league since Patrick Beverley joined the team

This combination has brought some excitement back to the franchise as they find themselves in the thick of the playoff race as the season winds down. With this in mind, here are my predictions for each of the Bulls’ final 11 games of the season:

The Chicago Bulls are on a three-game win streak and are back in the playoff race. The next 6 games will be extremely important as the season winds down.

March 22 vs. Philadelphia 76ers (2-1 this season)

Prediction: Loss

Joel Embiid fell to the Chicago Bulls for the first time in his career on Monday after winning 12 consecutive times, with the Bulls winning 109-105 in a 2OT thriller. Embiid was a bright spot on the 76ers, scoring 37 points on 11-22 shooting and 15-17 from the line while adding 16 rebounds before fouling out down the wire.

While the Bulls struggled to contain the MVP candidate, they did an exceptional job guarding James Harden, who was held to 2-14 shooting and scored just 5 points on the night. The Bulls’ defense was a huge part of the win, as they forced 19 Philadelphia turnovers. The Bulls big 3 scored 72 total points, as LaVine led the way with 26, DeRozan with 25, and Nikola Vucevic added 21.

The Bulls will now face the 76ers at home, where they currently have their strongest momentum of the season. However, the 76ers still are on a hot streak, winning 8 straight before meeting Chicago. Due to the inconsistent nature of the Chicago Bulls and the dominance that Philly has shown recently, the Bulls will likely have their win streak broken.

March 24 @ Portland Trail Blazers (1-0 this season)

Prediction: Win

In the first meeting between the Chicago Bulls and the Portland Trail Blazers, the former pulled out a 129-121 win behind 86 combined points from their big 3, as Zach LaVine led the scoring effort with 36 points on 11-18 shooting. He was, however, outpaced by Damian Lillard, who dropped 40 in the loss.

In this second meeting, the mentality of the Trail Blazers will be different. Portland is in the midst of a six-game losing streak, falling by double digits in five of those contests. Damian Lillard has been excellent, but the Blazers’ supporting cast has been more inconsistent. Anfernee Simons and Jerami Grant have not shot efficiently and the defense has been second-worst in the league over the last 15 games (120.7 defensive rating).

The Bulls, however, are catching their stride and can give Lillard problems with Pat Bev guarding him. Over his career, Damian Lillard has averaged just 22.5 PPG on 40.1/32.6/84.6 shooting splits against the Bulls point guard, which is a dip compared to his career numbers. Additionally, Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan will be able to take advantage of the Blazers’ poor defense and should be able to pull out a win.