Sunday Bulls Update for Week 11 of the 2019-20 Season: Bumbling into a New Year

Kris Dunn fights with Utah Jazz player, Emmanuel Mudiay, for a loose ball. Photo by Nam Y. Huh of the Associated Press.

The Chicago Bulls are now a feeble 13-23, after dropping all three of their games this week. It’s a new year, but the same old Bulls, and change is long past due.

The Look Back:

Last Monday, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Bulls, 123-102, starting the week off on a sour note. The loss was a foreshadowing of things to come, with the talent of Milwaukee just too much for the Bulls to handle. A devastating 40 point third quarter by the Bucks buried the Bulls and ensured a victory for our neighbors to the north. Reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and his running mate, Khris Middleton, outclassed the Bulls defense by combining for 48 points and 10 assists. It was very much a case of the best team in the league coasting to a win over one of the worst teams in the league.

Thursday’s game against the Utah Jazz was a much closer contest, but the results were the same: 102-98, the Jazz left Chicago with a victory. Just as in so many games this season, the Bulls offense seemed to stall in the second half. Empty offensive possessions piled up, and even though the defense did it’s job and held Utah to just over 100 points, the Bulls couldn’t score in the final minutes of the game when they needed it the most. Another frustrating loss out of a game that could have easily been a win.

The same thing happened on Saturday night against the Boston Celtics. Poor offensive possessions down the final stretch of the game doomed the Bulls, 111-104. Even though the Celtics were playing their second game of a back-to-back, even with star point guard Kemba “El Matador” Walker sitting out, the Bulls were unable to put together enough offense to beat Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Jaylen Brown. Worst of all, Lauri Markkanen tweaked his ankle during an awkward fall late in the fourth quarter, and is now listed as “day-to-day” on the injury report. Considering the recent history of the Bulls medical staff that’s the equivalent of saying “He passed quietly in his sleep with his loved ones gathered at his bedside.”

MVP of Week 11: Zach LaVine (5)

LaVine is playing at Superman again, carrying the Bulls offense as best he can. He’s averaging over 23 points a game with nearly 4 assists; those may not seem like gaudy numbers, but he leads the team in scoring and is second only to Tomas Satoransky in assists. LaVine is actually 16th in the league in points per game, just behind Brandon Ingram, Andrew Wiggins, and Russell Westbrook, but above former All-Stars like Joel Embiid and Kemba Walker. The only other Eastern Conference guards that score more than LaVine on a nightly basis are Trae Young and Bradley Beal, both of whom play for teams with worse records than the Bulls. Maybe it’s time LaVine makes an All-Star team? ‘Nuff said.

The Look Ahead:

The Bulls have four games this upcoming week.

-Monday, the Bulls travel to Dallas to take on MVP candidate Luka Doncic and the rest of the 22 – 13 Mavericks. I’m hoping for a big night from Lauri Markkanen as he goes up against the original “Unicorn,” Kristaps Porzingis. Markkanen has had some of his best games facing off against Porzingis, if the ankle isn’t bothering him too much, maybe we’ll get treated to another of their epic duels.

-Wednesday finds the Bulls in the Big Easy, playing the 12 – 24 New Orleans Pelicans. Without number one draft pick Zion Williamson, it’s been the Brandon Ingram/Jrue Holiday show in New Orleans. Holiday is one of the many Pelicans players that should be available via trade, and is definitely a player that could help the Bulls. Time to get those scouting glasses on Bulls fans.

-Friday is the first game of a back-to-back for the Bulls. They return home to face the Indiana Pacers and the rest of the Holiday Clan. Jrue’s brothers, Justin and Aaron Holiday, both play for the Pacers, a team that has lost 4 out of it’s last 5 games, and has felt the debilitating bite of the injury bug.

-Saturday’s game in Detroit will be the Bulls 4th and final meeting with the Pistons this season. Chicago has won the last three contests between the two teams, and look to sweep the season series with a victory Saturday night. It’ll be a tough feat to accomplish on the second leg of a back-to-back, but that’s why they get paid the big bucks.

That’ll do it for this week. In the weeks to come I plan on delving into some more draft prospects, exploring some possible trades, and raging against the inadequacies of this Bulls roster, coaching staff, and Front Office. Until then, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!