The Look Back:
The Bulls are on pace for a win a week this season, or 26 wins in total, which is atrocious. They were 1-3 this week, dropping games to the undermanned Indiana Pacers (108-95), the hungover Los Angeles Lakers (118-112), and the under-performing Houston Rockets (117-94). The lone victory of the week came against the Atlanta Hawks (113-93), and was the best, most complete game the Bulls have played this season. Nearly everyone contributed to the win, but none more so than Tomas Satoransky, who had the best game of his NBA career. Sato scored 27 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dished out 8 assists. He was unstoppable.
The long and short of it is, the Bulls are unable to hold onto the lead. They’ve held significant leads in most of the games they’ve played this season, and have been unable to sustain them when faced with the pressure of the closing minutes of the game. Now, no team is afraid of the Bulls. It doesn’t matter how big of a lead they build, every opponent has confidence that they can climb back into the game and win it in the closing minutes. After all the blown games, the Bulls have developed a reputation that they will fold when the chips are down. Someone needs to step up and start reversing that thought process, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone capable of handling that responsibility currently on the roster. We need a Shepherd of Leads.
Good News/Bad News:
The good news is that Chandler Hutchison is back from his injury and playing well. His first game back in action was Tuesday against the Lakers, and he’s played in every game since then. Hutch has been aggressive, attacking the rim on offense and grabbing rebounds on defense. He is getting better with every game he plays. He has been a nice energetic pick-me-up for the team.
The bad news is that Otto Porter Jr suffered a foot injury in the game against the Hawks on Wednesday, and is out for the near future. Porter was beginning to emerge from the slump he (and most of the rest of the team) had been in since the start of the season. There is no word on how many games Porter is expected to miss, but his absence is already being felt by the Bulls offense. Otto has been one of the few Bulls players whose 3 point shot seemed to be falling with some consistency, without him in the lineup, we can expect the teams shooting woes to continue.
The Bulls are now 3-7 on the season and in danger of forcing me to bring back the tank standings. I’m going to wait until after Thanksgiving to do that, but if things don’t turn around quickly, the word “playoffs” will be the punch line for this season.
On a Roll, MVP of Week 3: Wendell Carter Jr (2)
Call him Mr. Reliable, Carter had double-double performances in 3 of the 4 games this week. Surprisingly, his worst game of the week came in the victory against Atlanta. He spent most of the game on the bench, in foul trouble, and didn’t get a chance to contribute much to the win. In the other three games Carter was a beast; 20 points and 10 rebounds against the Pacers, 11 and 11 with a block against the Lakers, and he finished the week with 13 points and 16 rebounds, with 2 assists and 2 blocks against the Houston Rockets.
Wendell has been the Bulls best player early this season. He is on the brink of breaking out, just as many experts predicted. All he needs is a little more help from his teammates. Too many times Carter will be open under the basket and the Bulls ball handlers won’t see him. He should be averaging 20+ points this season with all the opportunities he’s created and his teammates have missed. With all the struggles Bulls players have been having scoring the ball, they might want to make Wendell a bigger part of the offense. Hopefully, they start to find him when he’s open.
The Bulls have 3 games this week.
– At home on Tuesday, November 12th, against the New York Knicks. You’ll remember that the Bulls lost their first matchup with the Knicks (105-98) in what many have dubbed the “Bobby Portis Revenge Game.” Portis kicked the Bulls ass with 28 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 dagger three pointers that really swung the game in the Knicks favor down the stretch. We’ll see if the Bulls can exact their own revenge on Tuesday night. They’ll have to do a better job staying in front of rookie R.J. Barrett who bullied the Bulls with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Maybe Hutchison can be the man to out muscle Barrett, I have a feeling that’ll be the matchup to watch.
– Thursday, the team travels to Milwaukee to take on Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Brothers Lopez, and the rest of the Bucks. I don’t think there is any way, barring a miracle, that the Bulls win this game. Giannis has been terrorizing the Bulls for several seasons now, and they have no answer defensively for him, Brook and Robin Lopez, or Khris Middleton for that matter. This might be one of those games that gets ugly fast.
– The final game of the week is a home game against the Brooklyn Nets. With Kevin Durant sidelined due to injury, the Bulls will only have to worry about Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Jarrett Allen… and Joe Harris… and Taurean Prince… and Caris LeVert, and the list goes on. This will be another tough game for the Bulls, and again, one I don’t expect they’ll win. I’m most interested in seeing one of my favorite players from last summers draft, Nicolas Claxton, play. He has gotten some playing time with the Nets since DeAndre Jordan has been injured. In the one game he’s played in this season he’s scored 8 points, with 6 rebounds (5 were offensive rebounds), and 2 assists in twelve minutes; not a bad showing for a rookie on a contending team.
The first basket of Nicolas Claxton’s NBA career. pic.twitter.com/pZN03vL52q
— Justin Carter (@juscarts) November 9, 2019
— Talkin’ Nets (@TalkinNets) November 9, 2019
Before I go I’ll leave you with the Bulls Leaders.
Bulls Win Share Leaders:
1. Wendell Carter Jr 0.9
2. Tomas Satoransky 0.6
3. Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr 0.5
Bulls +/- Leaders:
1. Chandler Hutchison +1.3
2. Otto Porter Jr +0.8
3. Wendell Carter Jr -0.1
That’s all for this week, until next time, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!