Chicago Bulls face schedule gauntlet as they look to maintain hot start


The Chicago Bulls tipped off a brutal stretch within the schedule by selecting up their first lack of the season. DeMar DeRozan airballed a midrange jumper on the buzzer, with a wild fourth-quarter rally falling simply brief, 104-103.

Chicago have been one of many tales of the primary week of the season, with a new-look roster surging to their finest start in over two many years.

The 4-0 file has broadly been taken with a grain of salt within the basketball neighborhood, with the wins coming in opposition to anticipated non-playoff squads.

The gentle schedule is about to change in an enormous means, with the loss to the Knicks opening up a torrid stretch of 13-straight video games in opposition to playoff groups from final season. 

Upcoming 12-game schedule for the Chicago Bulls
Date Opponent
Oct. 30 vs. Utah
Nov. 1 at Boston
Nov. 3 at Philadelphia
Nov. 6 vs. Philadelphia
Nov. 8 vs. Brooklyn
Nov. 10 vs. Dallas
Nov. 12 at Golden State
Nov. 14 at LA Clippers
Nov. 15 at Los Angeles Lakers
Nov. 17 at Portland
Nov. 19 at Denver
Nov. 21 vs. New York

The protection query

Entering the season, the largest query mark across the Bulls was on the defensive finish. Early returns counsel the backcourt duo of Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso have unlocked frisky perimeter protection, with the problems nonetheless largely with their capacity to compete on the inside.

Coming into the sport in opposition to New York, the Bulls had been giving up 49.5 factors within the paint. Against the Knicks, they misplaced the battle 50-40. 

They additionally rank within the backside ten for opposition whole rebounds (47.8 per sport) and on the offensive glass (11.2).

Despite the considerations, head coach Billy Donovan believes the protection is effectively forward of the offense by way of constructing chemistry within the early a part of the season. 

“Tonight, I thought our defense was ok. We did get hurt on the boards but our defense kept us in it. Our guys worked, I just think we have to get more cohesive on offense,” Donovan stated after the loss to New York.

The Bulls’ 97.0 defensive score coming into the Knicks sport has been fuelled by taking part in the Detroit Pistons twice (thirtieth ranked offense), New Orleans Pelicans (twenty ninth) and Toronto Raptors (nineteenth). The subsequent stretch in opposition to a number of the highest-powered offenses within the league is probably going to paint a clearer image of the place the Bulls stand.

Bulked up offense

On the offensive finish, the Bulls are as marketed even when they are but to totally hit their straps.

Zach LaVine ought to thrive taking part in alongside one other dynamic shot-creator in DeRozan, whereas Nikola Vucevic offers a constant choice inside and outside. Against the Knicks, the trio mixed for 67 of Chicago’s 103 factors, with Caruso the one different participant to attain double digits with 10. 

The greatest query on that finish of the ground could also be who takes the ultimate shot. 

On this night time it was DeRozan, who tried to isolate on the precise wing, earlier than failing to hit rim as R.J. Barrett refused to chew on his pumpfake. 

“I’m happy with the look. I didn’t expect to be that open. I tried to get my feet set, but kinda rushed it at the end,” DeRozan stated.

He defined the play gave him the choice to hand off to LaVine, who was effectively coated for any potential hand off. 

“It’s all about the defender, I seen him switch. They switched it, Zach didn’t have an angle, I had an angle to get to my spot and pull up, it was just short.”

Despite some good particular person level totals, DeRozan believes the offense has room to develop.

“We still building, still trying to get our rhythm and understanding where our shots are coming from. It’s going to come with time. There will be that game where we catch some rhythm.”

Nikola Vucevic echoed DeRozan’s ideas 

“We’re still trying to figure out how to play alongside each other. I feel like sometimes when we get stuck we tend to settle. It’s learning each other’s tendencies and what we like to do in certain situations.”

With the chemistry nonetheless a piece in progress, the upcoming stretch could hit the Bulls a bit of sooner than they would have preferred. If Chicago can escape the upcoming video games with a .500 file it might be time to consider within the hype as the franchise seems to make its return to the postseason. 

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