Bulls set embarrassing franchise record last night vs Nets

Brooklyn Nets v Chicago Bulls
Brooklyn Nets v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Having lost six of their last seven entering last night's contest against the Brooklyn Nets, the Chicago Bulls were in desperate need of a win to snap their skid. They'd find no respite from their losing ways last night, however, as the Bulls would choke away a commanding early 22-3 lead and ultimately lose 109-118.

It's almost ironic that the Bulls have received so much flak for their slow starts, just to flounder across the finishing line now that head coach Billy Donovan finally directly addressed their issues in the first quarter. Perhaps most concerning of all was that the loss came in a game where the Bulls submitted an increasingly rare balanced performance across the roster. Zach LaVine, Demar DeRozan, Coby White, and Patrick Williams each scored 20 points or more on a combined 50.8% shooting from the field. Still, it wasn't enough in the end.

That's because no matter how well the Bulls play, they always seem to find ways to allow opposing teams to play even better. The Nets are certainly no juggernauts on offense, but I wouldn't blame you for believing they were if last night's game was your only chance to watch them in action.

Brooklyn completed an astonishing 25 three-point shots last night, the most of any team in the NBA so far this season. Royce O'Neale and Lonnie Walker IV led the team, each contributing 6 makes on 10 attempts, while the Nets completed 25-of-53 (47.2%) long-range attempts as a team as a whole. Not only was this a record for the 2023-24 season, but it was actually the most threes a team has ever scored on the Bulls in their entire franchise history. This current roster is making history, but for all the wrong reasons.

The Bulls conceded 25 three-pointers vs. the Nets last night, setting an unfortunate franchise record.

It's no understatement to say the Bulls' defense has regressed tremendously in just one year. Chicago had the league's 5th-best defensive rating in the 2021-22 season, and the top defense in the league following the turn of the new year. Billy Donovan's scheme was credited for this overachievement, so it was believed the Bulls' defense would once again be a reliable asset this season.

That has not proven to be the case, however, as Chicago currently ranks 21st in the NBA in defensive rating through 18 games. It seems the loss of key personnel had a much bigger impact than originally anticipated. Although Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig are solid defenders in their own right, the versatility of Patrick Beverley, Javonte Green, and Derrick Jones Jr. is very clearly missing on this new-look roster.

Here's what Nikola Vucevic had to say in his post-game interview regarding the team's defensive lapses:

""A lot of is, you know, kind of communication. We don't do a good enough job communicating to each other what we have to do or honoring the call if someone calls for you . . . if the initial coverage breaks down and we're in scramble mode with so much space and so much shooting around the league nowadays it's hard to make up for all that space.""

Nikola Vucevic

For a team that has repeatedly stressed the importance of continuity and team chemistry over actual roster changes and improvements, I find it highly concerning that "communication" is still an issue with this team. They've had more than enough time to establish a rapport by now. I'm not sure if it's due to a lack of talent on the roster, or simply caused by players who no longer want to play here, but the results speak for themselves. If a terrible record, empty seats in the United Center, and broken franchise records won't make the Bulls' head honchos wake up to the reality of this situation, I'm not sure if anything ever will.

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