The Chicago Bulls are in an interesting situation heading into the second half of the season. Currently, the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Therefore, it would not be realistic to dismiss them as contenders based on their performance this season. However, there are still several unanswered questions about the team.
For example, this season, the Chicago Bulls have not beaten an elite team. Additionally, they have an embarrassing record against top teams in each conference. In the past, when the team had the likes of Michael Jordan in their team sheet, their record against top teams was much better. This poor record is obviously a massive worry because the team has to work their way through virtually all these top teams if they are to attain their goals.
Additionally, their unique offensive approach could also hinder them from winning in the playoffs. For example, DeMar DeRozan has been playing amazing basketball this season. But the truth is iso-ball is not always effective at the playoffs. Their biggest undoing is that they don’t have an interior defense.
This weakness was visible when they came up against the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia Sixers. In the games, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo proved to be a handful as the Bull’s defense could not slow them down.
Bulls Have the Second-Toughest Schedule in the League
NBA commentators have argued that the Bulls have the second-toughest schedule in the League. This means that finishing out of the regular season for them would not be a walk in the park. There are 23 games between the Bulls and their first postseason since the 2016/17 season.
The Milwaukee Bucks are the only team that has tougher fixtures than the Bulls. For example, 12 out of their 23 games will be against teams currently ranked in the top six of their respective conference. Additionally, nine of these tough matchups will be against Eastern Conference teams, such as three against fifth-placed Milwaukee Bucks and two against Miami Heat, who are tied in the first place. Additionally, they have two matches against the fourth-placed Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Bulls will also face sixth-placed Boston Celtics and third-placed Philadelphia 76’ers one time each. The Bulls have a combined 2-8 against these five teams. When you expand the list to include matchups in the West such as Suns, Grizzlies, and Jazz, the Bulls only have a 3-10 record.
Considering their injury woes, the Bulls will have to be at the top of their game when the second part of the season begins after the All-Star break. Luckily, they have the momentum after a five-game winning run before the break. Moreover, DeMar DeRozan has continued to play at MVP-level throughout the season. On the other hand, Nikola Vucevic has also rediscovered his All-Star form.
Vucevic has been an integral part of his team’s midseason success. He has averaged 24.1 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in each game in the last ten games. The Bulls will be hoping he can put in similar performances in the coming games.
If the Bulls want to be the best, they must triumph over the best. Fortunately, the Bulls have a golden chance to achieve that in the coming days. However, they will need a fully-fit squad to achieve these aspirations.
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