meanmugging
Bulls truth teller and current win share leader, Wendell Carter Jr, mean mugs before playing the Portland Trailblazers.

Sunday Bulls Update Week 6 of the 2019-20 Season: “0”-fer

The Bulls lost all three of the games they played this week, and are now 6-14 on the season. After the monster performance by Zach LaVine against the Charlotte Hornets in week 5, the Bulls had the opportunity to use that win as a springboard to a better record and a better brand of basketball. Unfortunately, they only jumped back into their lack-luster habits and losing ways.

The Look Back:

Monday night, the Portland Trailblazers came to Chicago and put a 117-94 drumming on the Bulls. The recently signed Carmelo Anthony led the Blazers (and all scorers) with 25 points. It was such an ugly game that even the crowd at the United Center turned on the Bulls; as the game got farther and farther out of reach chants for “Melo” started echoing around the stadium.

On Wednesday, the Bulls started a mini west coast trip by losing to the injury depleted Golden State Warriors, 104-90. The Warriors trotted out a team made up of third stringers, G-Leaguers, and Draymond Green. It was more than enough to beat the Bulls, who looked like a squad of zombies that had been taking sleeping pills while drinking heavily. The Golden State Warriors out hustled the Bulls, they played like a team that knew they were going to win. They out worked the Bulls, they out played the Bulls, and in the end it wasn’t even close.

After the game, a reporter asked Coach Jim Boylen if he was ashamed losing to the Warriors, a team that had the worst record in the NBA and, up until that night, had only won 3 games the entire season…

Wendell Carter Jr begged to differ…

 

Losing has become all too easy for the Bulls, and they did some more of it in their rematch with the Portland Trailblazers on Friday night.

I actually think the Bulls got hosed by poor officiating in this one. Late in the game, with the Bulls down just 3 points, Lauri Markkanen took the ball straight to the hoop. He was met at the rim by Blazers center Hassan Whiteside, who had been throwing his own personal block party all night long. To say Whiteside mugged Lauri would be an insult to dark alley denizens everywhere. What Whiteside did to Markkanen wasn’t a mugging, it was a massacre. He jumped into Markkanen, both of their bodies colliding in mid-air, and under the guise of attempting to block the shot, Whiteside hacked Lauri’s arm, forcing the ball loose.

 

It should have been called a foul, and if it had been, that would have been Whiteside’s 6th foul and he would have been kicked out of the game. Too bad the refs were too cowardly to eject Whiteside by making the right call. Whiteside would later make a key tip-in on the offensive end, effectively putting the game out of reach. If he had fouled out of the game, he would never been able to make the tip-in basket, and who knows how the game might have ended. Instead, Whiteside finished with 10 blocks (a new Trailblazer record), 15 rebounds, and the game winning tip-in. Final score: Blazers 107, Bulls 103. Thanks refs.

Injury Update:

Chandler Hutchison is sidelined again with a new injury. He is day-to-day with a shoulder sprain. Otto Porter Jr had an MRI done on his left foot contusion and will be reevaluated sometime this upcoming week. Porter’s injury is starting to sound a lot like Denzel Valentine’s sprained ankle from last season, you know, the sprained ankle that required reconstructive surgery. Maybe Porter will be ready to go this week, but I’m not holding my breath.

MVP of Week 6: Zach LaVine (3)

LaVine continues to be the lone Bull consistently able to create his own shot. He anchored the offense this week, and continued to shoot the ball well. LaVine led the Bulls in scoring in all three of the games this past week, putting up 18 points against Portland on Monday, 36 against the Warriors, and he finished with 28 in the rematch with the Blazers. He also added 5 assists in each of those three games, and made a point to try and get his teammates shots (i.e. he wasn’t just playing “hero ball”).

The Look Ahead:

The Bulls have another three game week coming up.

– They finish their mini west coast swing in Sacramento on Monday, taking on the 8-10 Kings. Sacramento has been playing fairly well this season considering two of their main players have been sidelined with injury. Second and third year prospects Marvin Bagley and De’Aaron Fox respectively, are both out and not expected to play anytime soon. So far, the Bulls haven’t been able to capitalize on other teams injuries, maybe the Kings will be the exception.

– Speaking of teams with injuries, the 5-13 Memphis Grizzlies got some bad news this week, rookie sensation Ja Morant is week to week with back spasms. The Bulls return home on Wednesday to host the Grizzlies. I would hope that the Bulls have enough talent and gumption to beat the lowly Griz, but we haven’t been able to count on either of those two things showing up with any consistency this season.

– Might the Bulls find some redemption on Friday when the 4-16 Golden State Warriors return to Chicago? Whether or not the team is ashamed of their performance this past Wednesday, the Bulls have to play hard against the Warriors. They can’t sleep walk their way through this game and expect to win. If the Bulls lose to the depleted Warriors twice this season the Front Office might have to nuke the franchise.

Bulls Win Share Leaders:

1. Wendell Carter Jr 2.0

2. Tomas Satoransky 1.2

3. Zach LaVine 1.0

Bulls +/- Leaders (10 or more games played):

1. Shaq Harrison +1.4

2. Wendell Carter Jr +0.2

3. Tomas Satoransky -0.8

Thanks for reading and GO BULLS!