The Chicago Bulls are about to embark on a streak of tough opponents, but they theoretically had two gifts right before starting that stretch. A road game against the Wizards followed by a home game against the Bobcats. So far they're 0-1. The Wizards game doesn't surprise me so much because they're young, athletic, and have John Wall back.
The Wizards are 7-3 in their last 10 despite a horrific overall record, and they're simply a different team with Wall running the point. They have several quality wins over that stretch as well [Thunder, Blazers, Hawks, etc]. The Bobcats? That's a different story. They are legitimately awful, and the Bulls already lost to them once at home.
I'd be considerably more concerned about the potential for a loss had it not been for the loss to the Wizards on Saturday. The Bulls tend to be streaky with their play, but when you consider they don't have a consistent way to generate offense and sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way even if you hustle, it's not hard to see why they've struggled to close out their fourth win a row yet this season.
The Bulls, thus far, are 0-4 after winning three in a row, however their overall record is also a testament to how well they typically respond to losses. Tom Thibodeau is coaching the heck out of this team. I don't know if he earns coach of the year credit or not for his efforts this season, but if not, he should.
As for the Bobcats, they're young, athletic, and can score from the perimeter. While they lack consistency, they have several players who can penetrate off the dribble, no single focal point of their offense, and present many facets that frequently cause the Bulls to struggle on defense. Chicago's going to need to step up defensively, control the glass, and slow the game down.
Chicago's struggle with pedestrian opponents at home is perhaps the only flaw this season. Every team drops a few games that make you go 'huh?', but Chicago has more than their fair share of games like this and has barely pulled out some others. If the Bulls could take back some of those lack of focus games they'd actually be sitting in the #1 seed in the East right now.
Winning should be fairly simple, they have a huge advantage on the interior, particularly with Byron Mullens out. They should force the action inside the paint and have plenty of opportunity to get high efficiency shots all night long. The inside play will open up the three point shooters, and the Bulls offense should find easy ways to score.
Chicago simply needs to execute it's preferred plan of attack and it should flow right into the weaknesses of this undersized Bobcats team. Let's just hope they don't drop the rope. Coming off a loss, I doubt they do.
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