Now, they are having trouble stringing two wins together. “We’ve got to decide what we’re going to be,” said Coach Tom Thibodeau. Thibs was pretty blunt in his post-game presser, “If we’re going to go in and try to outscore everyone, we’re not going anywhere. I know that isn’t going to work.”
The Bulls have played consistently tough defense under Thibodeau. Now, it seems they want to score, after struggling much last season to do so. Offensively, they have been impressive. Defensively, not so much.
Chicago had just allowed the Orlando Magic, a team that had trouble scoring 100 points, to shoot 59% in field goal percentage. It was the Magic who did the conjuring. The team dialed up two 33 point games for underrated Nikola Vucevic, a 7′ man who leads the NBA with 23 double-doubles. Pau Gasol has 21, not far behind.
But Gasol, who had 28 points and 14 boards, wasn’t enough in this game. Chicago did have a nice outing from Derrick Rose who had 18 points, playing on a sore left knee. Jimmy Butler added 17 points.
Victor Oladipo also had 33 points for Orlando. It’s tough to beat a team when two players have such great games.
Chicago got close. With 2:16 left to play, the Bulls trailed by 3 and Joakim Noah was on the line for two shots. He missed both and Oladipo scored a basket to put Orlando up by 5 and they weren’t headed after that.
The Bulls appear to be at a crossroads in their season. They trail the red-hot Atlanta Hawks by 5 games in the loss column. Those are hard to make up. Chicago will likely make the playoffs. How far they will go, is now in question.