The Chicago Bulls have had a disastrous February. Even with the all-star break to rest and heal up, the team looks lethargic on the court. The Bulls shot 50% to the Cavs and still lost the game based on a lack of rebounding and careless turnovers. They couldn't stop a Cavs offense without Kyrie Irving playing.
Tom Thibodeau's an elite coach, but the one fear with Thibs is whether or not the team would begin to tune him out, particularly if hard times hit and players had to endure the same message over and over again after losing games. Well, the Bulls are in that exact situation. A tougher schedule combined with an inability to stay healthy and the wear and tear on the primary players going nearly 40 minutes every night are adding up.
Chicago faces a very beatable Philadelphia team tonight, but they just lost to an awful Cavaliers team without their best player. If they can't get a win tonight, they'll host the Nets followed by road games against the Pacers and Spurs. None of those three games looks even remotely winnable the way the Bulls are playing right now.
Chicago's staring a potential six game slide squarely in the face right now, and to stop it, they need a win tonight. In the long run, no regular season game matters, but tonight is worth watching simply to see if the Bulls have dropped the rope.
Where's good Nate?
Nate Robinson's shot under 30% in three of his last six games and played very poorly in five of the six. What's worse, over the last seven games he's shooting just 23% from the three point line. The Bulls don't have much long range shooting and when Nate Robinson can't knock down a couple threes a game to give them that instant offense boost the bench offense tends to fall apart.
Marco Belinelli's been a bit uneven as well. When Marco plays well he gives the Bulls a big boost, but when he struggles Chicago can struggle to find offense.
Granted, we never expected the Bulls to play well on offense. When Nate Robinson might be the best shot creator on your team, you know you're in trouble on the offensive side of the ball. That's why the defense and effort is so important.
That's why the loss to Cleveland is so scary.
If this team stops fighting harder than everyone else, if this team is too hurt, if they're too worn out, if they can't regain their mental edge, then it's over. It's not hard to envision this thing spiraling down out of control, and if it does then it will be an ugly situation for Rose to come back in.
Tonight's a must win for Chicago. Let's see what they've got.
Filed under: Game Threads