The Bulls only played two games this week due to not being good enough to play on Christmas Day, a day reserved for some of the premiere talent in the league. The Bulls haven’t been scheduled to play on Christmas in several seasons, which is an indictment on the Front Office and their ability to build a winning basketball team.
The Look Back:
Another indictment of the Bulls inability to win is all the losing they’ve done the last couple of season, especially against teams with better records than themselves. That trend continued Monday night as the Bulls fell to the 8th seeded Orlando Magic, 103 – 95. A win against the Magic would have moved the Bulls into that 8th seed and a playoff spot, but they didn’t have enough length and athleticism to contend with Orlando’s Bigs. The Magic had 13 blocks in the game, led by “My Guy” Mo Bamba with 4. The Bulls were in the game for it’s entirety, but they just couldn’t put together that last run in the closing minutes to grab the lead and the win. Zach LaVine (26 points, 8 rebounds) and Tomas Satoransky (20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) both played well enough for the Bulls, but sub par performances from everyone else on the team really sunk their effort.
Saturday marked the end of an era, as legend Vince Carter (and the Atlanta Hawks) rolled through the United Center for the last time as an NBA player. The Bulls easily dispatched the Hawks, beating them for the third straight time this season, 116 – 81. Carter looked to be emotionally moved as he left the game for the last time to a standing ovation from the Chicago crowd. We know greatness in Chicago, we saw it on a nightly basis in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, Carter’s ovation was well deserved. 22 seasons in the league, countless accolades, numerous records, an all-time NBA great. ‘Nuff said.
MVP of Week 10: Tomas Satoransky
While Sato’s numbers might not jump out at you from the box score, he has been playing much better of late. He seems to be a lot more comfortable with the Bulls offense and his teammates, and he is picking his spots to effect the game. His assists and scoring are both up (10.1 points per game, 5.3 assists), and he continues to shoot the ball well from beyond the 3 point line (39.6%). Everyone has been begging Satoransky to be more aggressive on offense, and he seems to have taken that to heart, driving the ball to the hoop more often, and floating on the perimeter a little less. Sato’s solid game against the Hawks (11 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals) is what they need out of him going forward, as the Bulls schedule is about to turn nasty.
The Look Ahead:
The Bulls have 3 games this week, in what might be the 3 toughest matchups they’ve faced this season.
-The Milwaukee Bucks, the best team in the NBA according to their 29 – 5 record, come to town on Monday, December 30th, for the Bulls last game of the decade. The Bucks have already beaten the Bulls twice this season, both wins coming mid November. The one thing that might save the Bulls this game is that superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is battling a sore back and might be held out on Monday. If that happens it wouldn’t guarantee the Bulls a victory, as they’ve shown a distinct pattern of losing to teams without their superstars this season, but it might help their chances.
– Thursday, January 2nd, brings the Utah Jazz to Chicago for their first meeting of the season. The Jazz are 20 – 12, 6th in the Western Conference, and have won 8 out of their last 10 games. This will be a very tough test for the Bulls. Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Rudy Gobert are the heart of this Jazz team, and even though they are missing point guard Mike Conley (strained hamstring), they have more than enough in their big 3 to beat the Bulls.
-The week concludes for the Bulls at home against the Boston Celtics on Saturday, January 4th. The Celtics are 22 – 8 this season, and have 7 wins in their last 10 games. Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown spearhead the Celtic attack, while Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis bolster their defense. Another tough game for the Bulls.
NBA All-Star voting is under way and I’m doing my part:
The game is being held in Chicago this year, and I’m voting for Zach LaVine. He’s the best the Bulls have to offer right now, and if you look at the other guards playing in the Eastern Conference, he deserves to be on the team.
His chances of making the festivities will only increase if the Bulls can pull off some upsets this week. Until that happens, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!